ST. GEORGE — One Arizona defendant was sentenced while his codefendant absconded in a case involving the theft of more than 100,000 pounds of copper that was stolen from an Arizona power plant and sold at a recycling facility in St. George last summer.
Carl Slowtalker, 29, of Kaibeto, Arizona, appeared before 5th District Judge Jeffrey C. Wilcox via video for a sentencing hearing Friday on misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance and paraphernalia charge, while two third-degree felony charges for theft deception and receiving stolen property charges were dismissed. The defendant pleaded guilty to the drug charges on Jan. 12.
Washington County Attorney Rick Erickson represented the state during the hearing and told St. George News the felony charges were dismissed against the defendant once the evidence revealed that his involvement in the scheme was very limited.
Erickson said the defendant was “the muscle” used to help move the copper, but it was 26-year-old Chelsea Slowtalker, the defendant’s sister and codefendant, along with several other family members that had actually spearheaded the operation. She was also charged with two third-degree felony charges for theft deception and receiving stolen property, but shortly after her release from jail a warrant was issued for her arrest on Sept. 30 when she failed to show up for a scheduled hearing.
The case stems from an investigation that was set in motion on July 9 when the St. George Police Department was contacted by an investor with a power and railroad company who reported that hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of copper had been stolen from the company headquartered south of Page, Arizona.
Approximately 100,000 pounds of the copper that was stolen allegedly ended up at a recycling facility in St. George, where, according to information obtained by the investor and forwarded to police, 20,000 pounds had already been sold. Additionally, the copper stolen was unique to that facility alone and all told, more than 60 miles of copper had been stolen from the facility between March and July of last year.
The defendants admitted to stealing the copper and then taking it to the plant in St. George during interviews with police, and also said that several family members were involved in the operation, charging documents indicate. On the day of the arrest, records turned over to police revealed the pair had been paid $1,500 for that load alone.
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