Charles Krupnik, 50, and his girlfriend, Michelle Rene Herrada, 43, have an upcoming date with a judge in Webster Parish, LA. They were nabbed and charged by authorities with a series of copper thefts from AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint towers in a handful of northwestern Louisiana parishes and at least one tower site in Oklahoma.
Webster Detective Sgt. Tommy Kemp told the Minden, LA Press-Herald and KSLA-TV the couple hit at least four cell sites, stealing the copper out of the ground, killing service to thousands of people.
It started around the first of the year that they began hitting cell tower sites,” Kemp said. “Their modus operandi stayed consistent throughout the burglaries.”
This is just the latest arrest for the copper couple. In April, they were cuffed in Bossier Parish, and each charged with seven counts of simple burglary.
The detective said the duo would go to a site, cut the power and then cut the copper wiring, pulling it out of the ground. They would then take it to Texas and sell it there, the newspaper reported.
Kemp described Krupnik as “the mastermind behind the cell towers. He knew his way around a cell tower. He knew what he could steal. Most of the crimes occurred between midnight and 4 a.m.”
The detective said each cell tower had $10,000 to $17,000 worth of damage in Webster Parish. “That includes the taking of the copper wire and tearing up whatever they tore up to get the copper.”
Herrada and Krupnik were arrested on four warrants each for simple burglary and four counts each for conspiracy to commit simple burglary. Bond on each suspect totaled $450,000, the Herald-Press reported.