JUSTICE (STMW) — A west suburban man has been indicted on felony charges for allegedly stealing about $3,500 worth of copper from the trailer park where he lived over a period of about three months.

Paul Bridwell, 30, of Justice, has been indicted on one count of theft over $500 and seven counts of criminal damage to property, all felonies, according to a release from Cook County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff’s detectives started investigating Bridwell in late March after a resident reported damage to their property in the Sterling Estates Trailer Park on the 9300 block of West 79th Street in Justice. 

After canvassing the area, collecting evidence and conducting interviews, investigators were able to identify Bridwell, also a resident of Sterling Estates, the release said. 

Detectives learned Bridwell had two outstanding warrants for similar crimes — one in DuPage and one in Cook County.  Based on the evidence in Sterling Estates, Bridwell was arrested on March 22 and charged with one misdemeanor count of theft under $500, but the investigation continued.

Detectives identified another seven lots where Bridwell had stripped copper wire, sheriff’s police said. Between December 2010 and March 2011, he allegedly stole several hundred feet of copper, destroying utility lines outside homes that connect gas and electricity in order to access the wire inside. 

The property damage is estimated at more than $10,000.  The value of the copper stolen is about $3,500. As a result of the additional evidence, Bridwell was indicted by a grand jury on May 13, the release said.

Bond was set at $20,000 and Bridwell’s next court date is June 10 in Bridgeview.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)