LEWISTON — Police in Lewiston say they caught a man stealing copper from a vacant city home red-handed.

Police and the city’s code enforcement officer went to the home on Friday to put a condemnation sticker on it and heard someone inside sawing through copper pipes.

After calling for backup, police forced their way into the home, and after a short search, found the alleged thief hiding under a work bench in the basement. Officers recovered a hack saw, clamps and metal cutters.

The Sun Journal reports that 32-year-old Shane Wilson was arrested on charges of burglary and aggravated criminal mischief.

Authorities say thieves steal the copper to sell as scrap. They may get $200 for the copper, but they can cause thousands of dollars in damage to a home.

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