THAYER -- Two Thayer men have been charged with felony stealing after admitting to stealing copper from Hometown Energy in Thayer, according to authorities.
Ricky Gipson, 27, of Thayer and Paul Needles, 20, also of Thayer were charged with felony stealing last week.
Police allege Gipson and Needles stole copper tubing from the gas company located on Business Highway 63 earlier this month. They said the amount of copper tubing stolen has a value of at least $500 but less than $25,000.
The officers said Needles admitted there was copper left that had not been cut into pieces at Gipson's house at apartment 16, 941 Pine Street in Thayer.
Gipson agreed to let the officers search his apartment.
The officers said they found three full boxes of copper tubing matching what had been stolen from the gas company.
During the search of Gipson's apartment officers also seized two sandwich baggies of marijuana and electric scales, according to police.
Gipson was also charged with possession of a controlled substance.
Both men are being held in the Oregon County Jail at Alton. Needles' bond has been set at $4,900 and Gipson's bond is $10,000.
Both men are scheduled to appear in Oregon County Circuit Court Aug. 2.
Oregon County Sheriff Tim Ward said with the recent rise in the price of copper, also comes the possibility that criminals will try to steal copper to sell.
He said the price of copper has doubled over the last year and earlier this spring reached $4 a pound.
He said construction and remodeling sites where copper is used need to be closely monitored.