Seattle man sentenced for copper wire theft

SEATTLE — A Seattle man convicted of stealing more than 4 miles of copper wiring from a section of the Seattle-area light-rail system has been sentenced to about 12 1/2 years in prison.

The Seattle Times reported that Donald Turpin was convicted last month of burglary, theft and trafficking in stolen property. He was sentenced Friday.

Prosecutors said Turpin and another man stole the wire from the Sound Transit elevated light-rail tracks between the Rainier Beach and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport stations by getting into an area on the underside of the tracks.

The King County prosecutor’s office said the replacement cost of the 55,000 pounds of copper wire was more than $1.3 million. Prosecutors said Turpin made about $50,000 in profit.

The co-defendant pleaded guilty to theft and was sentenced to 45 days of work release.

It apparently was thirsty work. Court documents say DNA from discarded Gatorade bottles was key evidence.

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