In December of 2022, the Des Moines County Sheriff’s Office began to take reports of vandalism and theft of copper wire from Century Link. Century Link reported their poles being cut down and wires hanging from at the intersection of 80th Ave and DMC Hwy 99. It was determined the wire was being cut and stolen from the poles for the purpose of stripping the copper wire.
Century Link reported several more thefts of wire in January. At that time the Des Moines County Sheriff’s Office began to conduct surveillance operations near where these thefts were taking place.
Through these surveillance operations Detectives were able to observe several individuals stealing copper wire from this area. The individuals were stopped in a vehicle and identified. Arrest warrants were issued for the charges of Criminal Mischief 2nd Degree and Theft 2nd Degree for the following individuals:
Christopher Bernard Oberlander, age 33, of 1206 Corse St. Burlington, IA
Andrew Joseph Stout, age 36, of 509 West Agency Rd Lot 56 West Burlington, IA
William Phillips, age 53, of 1414 South St Burlington, IA
On January 27, 2023 all three individuals were placed under arrest, and they are being held at the Des Moines County Sheriff’s on the no bond warrants. This is an ongoing investigation, and more charges are expected as more suspects are identified.
The Des Moines County Sheriffs Office would like to make the public aware that there have been numerous thefts of copper wire, catalytic converters, and burglaries to outbuildings such as sheds, barns, and work sites in the past several months.
It is not uncommon for suspects to do their own surveillance during the day and nighttime hours to look for items to steal. The Sheriff’s Office would encourage anyone who sees suspicious activity or vehicles to call and report the incident as soon as possible.