- Published on Friday, 01 June 2012 15:19
Two suspected burglars were apprehended by area law enforcement about 4 p.m. Tuesday, one of them after jumping into Foss Lake and trying to swim away.
According to Dewey County Sheriff Lanny Clay Sander, Elk City residents Jose Gunsman, 31, and Roberto Erazo, 37, were booked on suspicion of copper theft, grand larceny and felony destruction of property.
Custer County Sheriff Bruce Peoples said burglars from the Elk City area had been operating in Dewey County and police from that county had pursued them previously.
On May 1, a truck was seen removing electric motors from their cooling towers at a DCP Midstream site, but deputies were unsuccessful locating it when their presence aroused suspicion. Then, on May 29, DCP employees saw the same pickup towing a trailer.
One of the employees approached the men and asked what they were doing, and suspects replied that they were cleaning a Chesapeake site.
When informed the station was not a Chesapeake facility, the two allegedly ran.
Dewey County deputies were already en route because someone recognized the truck and called police, Sander said. When the two fled, a DCP employee began following their truck.
During the chase, the trailer apparently blew a tire, which caused the motors to bounce violently enough for one of them to go through the trailer floor. It then became hung up in the undercarriage, preventing the trailer from going any further.
The men used a torch to cut off the trailer tongue and continued until they reached Foss Lake, Sander said.
Peoples said an area park ranger had set up a roadblock near the dam, which forced the two to stop and jump from the truck.
One plunged into the lake and swam to a buoy, Peoples said. Custer County deputies commandeered a boat from a local marina operator to retrieve the suspect. The other was captured on land.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol assisted in the chase.
The men remained in the Custer County jail through Thursday, and Sander said he would be transporting them to a contracted jail facility in Ellis or Major County. Dewey County's detention center is currently undergoing renovations and is not taking prisoners.