Chesterton Tribune



Porter PD: Two start brush fire trying to burn insulation off stolen copper wire

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A Chesterton resident was arrested Friday on charges of theft and criminal trespass after Porter Police said that he and an accomplice started a brush fire in the Brickyard while trying to burn off the insulation from a large quantity of copper wire.

Taken into custody was Ryan S. Self, 28, of 316 E. Indiana Ave. Police said that another man suspected of being Self’s accomplice succeeded in fleeing the scene.

According to police, at 2:01 a.m. Porter firefighters converged on the Brickyard--south of Beam Street, across from the PFD station and the Department of Public Works--after observing a working brush fire there.

Fire Chief Lewis Craig told the Chesterton Tribune that the PFD had initially been dispatched to a report of a brush fire at the 25 mile marker of eastbound I-94 but had failed to find it. On returning to the station, however, firefighters observed two male subjects in the Brickyard attempting to “stomp out” a fire with their feet, Craig said.

Meanwhile, the first PPD officer on the scene was able to see the silhouettes of two men near the fire, “moving quickly back and forth and looking for a place to escape.” One of them did so, headed northbound into a wooded area, police said, and a K-9 unit was unable to establish a track. The second man, identified as Self, did not run.

“As I approached the area, I could see a large amount of wire lying in various piles around the fire,” the investigating officer stated in his report. “One pile of wires was in the middle of the fire, engulfed. As I approached, I could see that all the wires were made of copper.”

When asked where he had obtained the copper wire, Self advised “with deceptive actions that he got it from 14 years of working on work sites and collecting the wire,” the investigating officer stated. “I advised (Self) that this heavy of wire is not used in common residential homes. Self still stuck with his original statement.”

The copper wire was retrieved by the PFD--Craig said that it took four trips by the department’s Gator ATV to collect it all--and placed into evidence.

Self was transported to Porter County Jail.


Posted 4/9/2013