Local News

Warrenton Town Employees Accused Of Copper Theft

Posted August 24, 2005 6:31 a.m. EDT

— Two high-ranking Warrenton town employees have been charged with stealing more than 16 tons of copper wire from an abandoned warehouse and selling it.

Gregory Reese, 51, of Manson, the town's water and sewer supervisor, and Frank Gutskey, 34, of Ridgeway, who oversees garbage collection, are accused of larceny in the theft of copper from a shuttered textile plant, Peck Manufacturing, which closed nearly five years ago.

Warrenton Police Officer Billie Jo Weaver said Reese and Gutskey had one of the few keys to the Peck warehouse.

"They worked for the town of Warrenton water department," Weaver said. "There were some leaks out there and they were responsible for taking care of these leaks."

Weaver said the thefts occurred between March and August of this year. More than 16 tons of copper wire and motors, valued at more than $20,000, are missing and are believed to have been sold in the Rocky Mount area, Weaver said.

Warrenton authorities found forklift tracks outside one of the loading docks. One of the suspects also had access to town-owned towing equipment, which has officials questioning whether town-owned equipment was used to commit the crime.

"We can't rule that out, at this point and time, but I can't comment for sure one way or the other," said Larry Carver, Warrenton's town administrator.

Carver said both employees are currently suspended without pay pending further investigation.

Both Reese and Gutskey will appear in court next month on felony charges of larceny. The Warrenton Town Council will also meet next month to consider the employment status of the two suspects.