A Texas man who allegedly stole copper wire from an elementary school roof has been called a habitual felony offender. Prior to the latest incident, the 40-year-old man served six prison sentences for other crimes. If the man is convicted of a theft charge, it could be added to the habitual felony offender case that is being built against him.
The alleged theft took place at Calk Elementary in Corpus Christi. A man was seen on surveillance footage walking away with copper wire bundles said to be worth thousands of dollars. According to reports, the rooftop incident caused power to be cut off in part of the school. It does not appear that there is any surveillance footage showing the wires being removed from the roof.
Following the incident, Nueces County Sheriff’s deputies conducted a manhunt in order to locate the person responsible for stealing the wires. In an effort to escape authorities, the accused man reportedly jumped into the Nueces River. He was later found along the 8200 block of SPID and detained. It is unclear whether his alleged attempt to flee has resulted in further charges.
Under Texas laws, people dubbed “habitual offenders” are subject to very harsh penalties regardless of the crimes for which they have been convicted. The Texas penal code states that if someone has been convicted of two qualifying felonies previously and they are found guilty of a third, they will be sentenced to a 25 years to life in prison. However, not all convictions qualify. The second felony must have occurred after the person was convicted of the first felony, and state jail felonies do not count toward this maximum penalty. If the man in this story has two felony convictions and he meets the other criteria, he could be facing life in prison for a theft charge.
Source: Texas Penal Code, “Sec. 12.425,” Sept. 1, 2011
Source: KIII, “Suspect in Calk Elementary Copper Wire Theft Arrested“, November 13, 2013