Suspects Arrested in Copper Wire Thefts Near Hoover Dam

Media Contact: Rose Davis, 702-293-8421

For Release: July 06, 2011

BOULDER CITY, NV -- The Bureau of Reclamation's Hoover Dam Police Department in cooperation with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department arrested two individuals on July 5, 2011 for allegedly stealing copper wire from power structures. The structures are owned and maintained by Western Area Power Administration and located on Bureau of Reclamation managed lands near Hoover Dam.

Hoover Dam Police discovered coils of wire hidden near the roadside leading to Hoover Dam. The coils were later observed in the suspects' vehicle at a nearby casino/hotel. 32-year-old William Johnson of Henderson, NV, and 24-year-old Ashley Maxwell of Boulder City, NV, were subsequently arrested and charged with the theft.

Copper wire and scrap metal are commonly stolen and redeemed for the scrap value, but the total value of the theft and the severity of the charges will be determined through an assessment of replacement value and the cost of reinstalling new materials. The materials are critical to the safe operations of the high-voltage power structures.

Additional related charges may be brought as the investigation continues. Since the theft occurred on federally managed property, the case will be turned over to the U.S. Attorney in Las Vegas for prosecution.

The Hoover Dam Police Department (HDPD) provides security and law enforcement services for Hoover Dam and its surrounding security zone while ensuring the safety of employees and visitors. The HDPD is a part of the collaborative partnership of civilian, law enforcement, federal security, and contract security employees committed to protecting Reclamation facilities in their jurisdiction.

To report possible criminal or suspicious activity at any Reclamation facility, please call 1-888-748-7220.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.