An attempt to steal copper from an abandoned office building landed a man in jail Wednesday afternoon after Johnson City police searched the building after surrounding neighbors reported seeing a man break in carrying large bolt cutters.
Eddie Albert Fink, 22, no address available, was charged with burglary after police located him hiding in the rafters of the Volunteer Building at the corner of Wilson Avenue and Boone Street.
Officers responded to the abandoned building around 2 p.m. and began the search.
A woman who lives near the building said she and others had surrounded the building’s perimeter until officers arrived.
After officers and a K-9 searched the building and found nothing, they called the city fire department to gain visible access to the roof.
The crew on Johnson City Fire Department Ladder 44 responded and a firefighter and police officer went up the ladder and were extended out over the roof.
Initially, the search was unsuccessful and officers cleared the scene a little after 3 p.m. Shortly after the scene was cleared, several witnesses entered the building to search for Fink.
After about an hour of searching the interior of the building, Jessica Matthews, who rents from the building’s owner, said she and the other witnesses discovered some of Fink’s tools lying on the ground.
Matthews said police were then called back to the building.
Fink reportedly refused to come out of the building at the request of officers, who then released a K-9 back into the building.
Police said Fink was in possession of a pair of bolt cutters, a pair of pliers and a screwdriver.
The bolt cutters had copper shavings on them, and police said there were areas inside the building where the copper had been freshly cut.
Fink was being held in the Washington County Detention Center in lieu of $11,000 bond.