Copper wire heist linked to large crime ring

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Marshall County Prosecuting Attorney Nelson Chipman announced today that an interstate investigation of the alleged theft of two copper wire shipments from a Bremen business valued at almost a third of a million dollars has resulted in the arrest and extradition of Arturas Pivoris, 30.

Pivoris is charged with two counts of theft, both Level 5 Felonies, for allegedly stealing two semi-trucks filled with copper wire valued at $320,000 on January 8 and January 9, 2015.

He was arrested in Illinois as he appeared for a scheduled appointment on May 8, 2015 at the Office of Immigration and Naturalization Services; he was extradited and booked into the Marshall County Jail on May 22, 2015.

The investigation started in mid-January, after Chad Sherwood, an officer with the Indiana State Police was called to International Wire, a copper wire producer with a plant in Bremen, IN.

The plant’s shipping supervisor was advised that two shipments never made it to their end destination in Hayesville, North Carolina, and the driver couldn’t be reached.

International Wire’s transport broker arranged for a new carrier, Night Logistic, Inc., to transport the two shipments.

According to court documents, the broker found the company on popular industry websites. A representative for Night Logistic said it had a driver in South Bend that could take the copper load to the east coast, and provided references for the broker to look into.

The broker called the phone number for the reference, who gave Nigh Logistic a 4.87 out of 5.0 rating on service. Documents indicate the carrier broker received all the proper documentation from the company, including the license of the driver, W-9 forms and much more.

On January 8, a carrier arrived at International Wire in Bremen, provided the pickup form and left with the first freight. The following day, the same man, dressed in different clothing, appeared and picked up the second load. The shipping clerk admitted to not verifying the identity and license of the transport driver.

When the loads never arrived, Indiana State Police expanded its investigation to contact with the Illinois State Police and New York State Police.

Investigators in New York believed International Wire was the victim of theft from a group that “specialize in cargo thefts.” Meanwhile, Illinois State Police told local investigators they’d been looking into a string of thefts for two years where a group stole identities of trucking companies and receive brokered shipments of metals and other goods. There were 25-30 thefts valued in several million dollars.

The investigation continued to cross state lines. Phones linked to Kentucky thefts were traced back to suspects in Chicago, who were then linked to heists in Georgia.

Ultimately, a photo of Arturas Pivoris made it back to Indiana investigators after a traffic stop in Illinois. That photograph was reportedly verified by the shipping clerk at International Wire, and led to Pivoris’ arrest in Chicago.

In response to the heist, president for International Wire, Andy Adams, said the company needs to be more cautious about using new carriers.

“Certainly it’s a growing concern because of the nature of how it came about in an organized fashion,” said Adams in a phone interview with NewsCenter 16.

The company complimented the interstate efforts of law enforcement in the investigation and handling of the thefts.