This Alleged Wire Thief Had the Worst Getaway Plan Ever

Crime
A blog about murder, theft, and other wickedness.
Aug. 8 2013 6:12 PM

This Alleged Wire Thief Had the Worst Getaway Plan Ever. (It Involved a Skateboard.)

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In this file photo, a metal scavenger picks up copper taken from an old air conditioner.

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

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“That’s No Excuse” is an occasional series spotlighting unconvincing criminal alibis.

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Name: Adam Fausett

Alleged crime: Stealing $5,000 worth of copper wire.

The facts: As many of you probably know, stealing 70 pounds worth of copper wire isn’t particularly difficult. Stealthily carting away that 70 pounds worth of wire—now that takes skills. If you’re a clever wire thief, you’ll use a car, or a truck, or some other vehicle with four wheels and a trunk. If you’re American Fork, Utah man Adam Fausett, you allegedly use a skateboard.

According to KUTV.com, police officers in Lone Peak, Utah were cruising around on patrol when they allegedly saw Fausett barreling down the road on a skateboard, covered in wire that almost certainly wasn’t his. I’ll let Officer Skyler Zobell take it from here:

"We just happened to be driving. We were going to a park nearby to do some foot patrol there, and it really just fell in our lap," Zobell said. "We notice he's on a skateboard carving back and forth in the roadway—not a care in the world—and he's wrapped up with a bunch of wire, black and white wire. Looked like the Michelin Man."

The cops stopped Fausett, booked him on charges of felony theft and criminal mischief, and later seemed pretty amused about the entire thing. “He was probably going 15 or 20,” said Zobell, referring to Fausett’s speed on the skateboard. But he wasn’t going fast enough to outrace the law.

The alibi: Fausett allegedly told the cops that, despite their suspicions, he hadn’t stolen the wire from the nearby light poles that had mysteriously stopped working. He found the wire by the side of the road. And the gloves he was wearing in the middle of the summer? Oh, those were there to protect him from falling off his skateboard. And the wire cutters, screwdriver, and pliers in his back pocket? Why, he had brought those along “just in case he had to replace a wheel” on his board. He also probably told them that “skateboarding is not a crime, man!” and started defiantly mouthing the lyrics to some Sugar Ray song, just because.

Why this is a bad alibi: The gloves excuse is vaguely plausible. The wire-cutters justification, less so. The claim that he just found the wire on the side of the road is patently ridiculous. Copper wire is worth a lot of money these days, and nobody would just toss 70 pounds worth in a ditch, unless they had just watched the movie Pay It Forward, and had decided to pay it forward to some anonymous wire scavengers. But that’s unlikely to have happened. Fausett would’ve been better off trying to convince the cops that he was, in fact, the Michelin Man, and that they were making him very late for a promotional appearance down at the tire store.

Justin Peters is a writer for Slate. He is working on a book about Aaron Swartz, copyright, and the rise of “free culture.” Email him at justintrevett@fastmail.fm.

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