Two charged with burglary after breaking into a vacant home in South Charleston
Fred Ferrell and James Harvey both face burglary charges after South Charleston police say they were caught trying to steal copper piping from a home in the 4000 block of Pennsylvania Avenue.
Officers said Thursday afternoon city workers saw the two men break through a back door of a home that is boarded up because of the Jefferson Rd. project. South Charleston officers responded and were able to catch both of the men before they left the property.
Cpl. Justin Bailes tells Eyewitness News the dozens of boarded up homes are causing a danger for the neighbors still living in the area.
"This is becoming an attraction," Cpl. Bailes said. "People want to get easy money. When there are a lot of boarded up houses together like this they will come and try to get copper or anything they can scrap."
Just after they were caught, a small fire broke out inside the home causing minor damage. Officers said it was likely caused after Ferrell and Harvey ripped the walls and ceilings out looking for something to steal.
Neighbors who still live in the area said they are not surprised to see this happen. However, they are on high alert after their neighborhood scenery changed due to the vacant homes.
"People will take the plywood off and go in," South Charleston neighbor James Hill said. "They put the plywood back up so you don't know they are there."
Hill said they are thankful for first responders and know the situation could have been a lot worse. They have a message for those attempting to snoop around their neighborhood.
"If you don't want to go to jail why come around?," Hill said.
South Charleston police remind neighbors if you see something strange or unfamiliar call 911.