Grover copper thief suspect nabbed

Published 2:30 pm Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Polk County Sheriff’s Deputy Tim Davis (left) and Henderson County K9 Deputy Ronnie Russell (right) escort Timothy William McCurry at the the former Grover Industries building. (photo by Leah Justice)

Up to $40k in copper stolen; $150k+ in damage

Officers swarmed the former Grover Industries building in Lynn last Friday morning, Sept. 2, to arrest a man inside suspected of stealing copper for the past couple of months.

After searching the large former plant, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office sought assistance from the Henderson County K-9 unit. A dog found the suspect hiding in a drain in the basement, according to sheriff’s office reports.

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Timothy William McCurry, 39, who was living in a hotel in South Carolina, according to sheriff reports, was arrested and charged with three counts each of felony breaking and entering and felony larceny.

An estimated $150,000 of damage was done to the building, and an estimated $30,000 to $40,000 of copper was stolen, according to initial reports.

Sgt. Mike Wheeler said the sheriff’s office was alerted to the crime about a month and a half ago and began setting up surveillance at the plant. Wheeler said he estimates the copper began being taken three to four months ago in small amounts at a time.

Wheeler said through surveillance, the sheriff’s office developed a good idea of the suspect’s routine. He said he got up at 3 a.m. Friday, Sept. 2, and arrived at the building. While he was there, an older model Toyota Camry pulled up at the rear of the building and parked next to the wall, not visible from the road. A man got out and left the driver’s door and trunk opened, while he entered the building through a window.

Wheeler witnessed this and called for back up. The suspect hid in the 55,000-square-foot building until he was found in the drainage area, located in the basement.

McCurry was placed under a $100,000 bond and was still being held at the Polk County Jail as of last Friday. McCurry will have a first appearance in court today, Tuesday, Sept. 6.

The Grover Industries plant, which once dyed yarn, closed in October 2008. Just prior to the recession, the plant employed 125 people. The building was built in the 1890s and was originally used as a hosiery mill, powered by a dam on the Pacolet River.

Plant manager Gary Semmell still checks on the plant weekly and discovered the crime.

The sheriff’s office was assisted in the investigation by the N.C. Highway Patrol and assisted on Friday at the scene by the Columbus and Tryon Police Departments.