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Police say accused Tennessee copper thieves did $150,000 in damage

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A security guard told police he saw two men and a woman with a pickup truck attempting to steal copper from an apartment building.

Video Transcript

- Tonight, these two men, Michael Coughlin and William Johns are accused of breaking into this White Haven building. Officers say their goal-- steal copper. The two men were caught here at the property yesterday. A security guard told police he saw Coughlin, Johns, and a woman in a pickup truck loaded to the ground, stealing copper. As far as we can tell, the woman has not been charged.

When police showed up, they say they found the woman with a screwdriver in her hand. She told officers she and Johns had been living in the building for the last month. As police questioned her, a truck pulled up. Johns and Coughlin were inside. Police arrested the pair.

We talked to the building's owner. He said he's on the property for more than a decade. He's been in the process of renovating, but now those plans are gone because the cost of repairs will be too much. Damages total more than $150,000. The one tenant who was at the building will have to leave because water lines and other pipes were damaged.

Records show Coughlin and Johns are no longer in jail. We called a number for Coughlin. I saw his name on a police report about some copper that was stolen.

A woman answered and said she was with him. I just wanted to get his side of the story. She said she wanted him to be able to tell his side of the story too. But they were in traffic and would have to call me back.