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.)

71195903
In this file photo, a metal scavenger picks up copper taken from an old air conditioner.

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Crime is Slate’s crime blog. Like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter @slatecrime.

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

Advertisement

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.

TODAY IN SLATE

The World

How Canada’s Shooting Tragedies Have Shaped Its Gun Control Politics

Where Ebola Lives Between Outbreaks

Gunman Killed Inside Canadian Parliament; Soldier Shot at National Monument Dies

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Paul Farmer: Up to 90 Percent of Ebola Patients Should Survive

Is he right?

Science

“I’m Not a Scientist” Is No Excuse

Politicians brag about their ignorance while making ignorant decisions.

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

In Praise of 13th Grade: Why a Fifth Year of High School Is a Great Idea 

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
  Business
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
  Life
Gentleman Scholar
Oct. 22 2014 5:54 PM May I Offer to Sharpen My Friends’ Knives? Or would that be rude?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 22 2014 10:39 PM Avengers: Age of Ultron Looks Like a Fun, Sprawling, and Extremely Satisfying Sequel
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.