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Copper Thieves Captured


Press Release
     In the early part of September 2023, swing-shift and graveyard-shift patrol started conducting deliberate criminal patrols in various areas across the city due to a high rise in Copper Thefts.  As a result of their collective efforts, they obtained names and locations of several individuals who were either involved or had been found with tools used to cut copper wire from telephone poles and ladders used to climb the telephone poles. In addition to the names and locations, Officers noticed a pattern in reference to when the copper thieves were stealing the copper. They noticed during the hours of 2:00 am to 6:00 am, there was an uptick of persons either riding bicycles or walking in the immediate areas where copper had been stolen.
     On September 22, 2023, Captain Jason Howard received a call from a unanimous caller stating that there was a white male and two black males in a field behind 1020 Linden Street where they were allegedly burning copper wire.  Captain Howard alerted other Officers (VIA departmental radio) stationed in the area, but the first to arrive on the scene was Field Training Officer Jerrell Johnson.  Captain Howard also called out K-9 Officer Tyler Smith with K-9 POKER. FTO Johnson observed a black male, identified as Leroy Fitpatrick, coming from the wooded area. FTO Johnson detained Fitpatrick then went to the wooded area where a fire could be seen and found a spool of AT&T copper wire which was identified by AT&T employees as the wire taken the previous night totaling $2,500.00 dollars. Several other spools with no wire were found and identified as wire belonging to AT&T, stolen from 621 S. Oak Street, totaling $6,000.00 dollars. There were several males that ran from Officers which K-9 Officer Smith and K-9 POKER attempted to track. K-9 POKER tracked one of the suspects to the apartments of 1020 Linden Street (apartment #17). Pine Bluff Detectives took over the investigation at that point.
     On January 1, 2024, at approximately 12:12 pm, Detective Lee Freeman received a phone call from an anonymous caller stating that a male identified as John Cody Mayberry was cutting large amounts of AT&T wire in the area of West 8th Avenue. Pine Bluff Police knew John Cody Mayberry due to Mayberry being sought by Pine Bluff Detectives for questioning in a previous case which occurred in the area of 11th Avenue and Railroad.
     Captain Howard along with Field Training Officer Donte Nicholson, John Woods, Karvarious Jones and K-9 Officer Tyler Smith (along with K-9 POKER) started conducted deliberate patrols during the hours of 2:00 am to 6:00 am. Captain Howard, FTO Nicholson, Woods, and K-9 Officer Smith started coming in on their off days to conduct surveillance. While on patrol in the areas where copper wires had been cut, Officers started stopping individuals riding bicycles at night without proper equipment and developed more intel into the key players and where they were cutting the wires.
     Captain Howard, FTO Nicholson, Woods, Jones and K-9 Officer Smith (along with K-9 POKER) conducted many nights of special patrol in search for the copper wire thieves and to attempt to take John Cody Mayberry into custody.
     On January 9, 2024, at approximately 8:45 pm, while doing deliberate patrols in the area of 6th Avenue and Ash Street, FTO Nicholson advised he saw a white male matching the description of Mayberry at 1616 W. 6th Avenue. FTO Nicholson started surveillance on 1616 W. 6th Avenue on the subject that he believed to be Mayberry while Captain Howard and Officers Woods and K-9 Officer Smith (along with K-9 POKER) were in the area waiting on the vehicle to pull off. Once FTO Nicholson advised the vehicle pulled off, Captain Howard developed probable cause to conduct a traffic stop on the vehicle. Captain Howard attempted to stop the vehicle at 6th Avenue and Ash Street, but the vehicle continued for several blocks to 6th Avenue and Linden Street then stopped. Captain Howard and Officers Woods, FTO Nicholson, and K-9 Officer Smith (K-9 POKER) conducted a felony traffic stop and all occupants were taken out of the vehicle. Mayberry was inside this vehicle and was taken into custody for the copper thefts and to be questioned about a previous case.
     The Pine Bluff Police Department is committed to serving and protecting this city. Even though copper thefts have risen over the past year, our Officers are dedicated to building cases and apprehending those individuals directly responsible. We understand that many areas were affected by the theft of copper, so we ask the public for assistance by reporting unusual behavior in your neighborhood or abroad. Please call the detective office tip line at (870) 730-2106, the detective office at (870) 730-2090, or the dispatched center at (870) 541-5300.
     We would like to thank everyone for the calls and texts, as it directly relates to the identification and apprehension of individuals who have been a nuisance to our great city.
Lieutenant DeShawn Bennett
Internal Affairs/PIO
Special Operations
Pine Bluff Police Department