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Deputies detain Oil Trough man for possible copper theft on Newark farm

Copper wire stolen from a center pivot irrigation system on a farm near Newark has led to a suspect being detained at the scene.

Independence County Sheriff’s deputies were called to the Bill Cullum farm after an alarm shortly after midnight Thursday morning indicated someone was in a farm field.

Deputy Justin Kirk came to the field and was met by Cullum; Chad Crabtree, who farms the land; Chris Davis, a fellow Independence County Sheriff’s deputy; and an Oil Trough man, Jamie W. Ballard, age 41.  

Deputy Kirk said he was told by Ballard that he had needed to relieve himself and pulled onto the farm road and land to do so.  Ballard also told Kirk he saw a four-wheeler with a driver, unknown to him, leave the field as he was entering it.

Kirk noted he found a roll of copper wire on the ground and a few feet behind Ballard’s truck. Cullum said about 190 feet of copper wire had been stolen from the pivot.  

An electrical current goes through the copper wire on the pivot and when the current is disrupted, an alarm is sounded at his farmhouse, Cullum said.

No evidence of a four-wheeler being in the field as far as vehicle tracks are concerned, and a sweep of the field did not find a person as well, Kirk noted.

Ballard was taken into custody on an investigative hold.

Deputy Kirk noted Ballard could face two charges:  criminal trespass on crop land and first degree criminal mischief, a felony.

For this story and more, listen to Ozark Newsline with Gary B. on Arkansas 103.3, 93 KZLE and other W.R.D. Entertainment radio stations.


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