OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Investigators say a former town councilman from a small Oklahoma City suburb used work-release inmates to steal copper wire from emergency sirens in the heart of Tornado Alley.
A sheriff’s affidavit says 66-year-old James Smith of Luther was charged with six counts of copper theft. The document alleges he sold the metal for $157.95 and paid three inmates a total of $120 to help him.
The sirens were being stored behind Luther’s town before they were put into use. But investigators say the sirens were gutted, at Smith’s direction, by inmates taking part in a community-wide clean-up day.
Luther is just northeast of Oklahoma City, which forecasters say has been hit by more tornadoes than any other city in the U.S. Several tornado-producing storms hit the region last month.