Pair Break into Old Joliet Prison to Scavenge for Copper, Police Say
Officers noticed one of the suspects near a prison fence and found he was pushing a cartload of stolen metal, Cmdr. Al Roechner said.
Two men brazenly hauling away copper from the old Joliet Correctional Center were nabbed Monday afternoon when Joliet police just happened to spot them as they drove by, Joliet Cmdr. Al Roechner said.
Shaun Wesley Matheny, 30, and Dawson Abbitt, 19, both of Lockport, are accused of breaking into the closed 1127 Collins St. prison sometime prior to being discovered at 2:50 p.m. and helping themselves to sheets of copper they planned to sell, Roechner said.
Police officers noticed Abbitt along a prison fence while doing a routine patrol down Collins Street and stopped to see what he was doing, Roechner said. They found him pushing a cart containing sections of cut copper plates through a fence opening, he said.
The pair admitted they'd had been inside the prison -- made famous in the 1980 movie "The Blues Brothers" -- several times and sold the metal they found to Berlinsky Scrap Corp. in Joliet, Roechner said.
Both were charged with burglary and are being held in the Will County jail -- Matheny in lieu of $10,000 bond and Abbitt in lieu of $5,000 bond.
According to jail records, which are incomplete, Matheny has several previous arrests under his belt, including one on a robbery charge in August 2009 and two for felony theft in May 2009 and in February 2008.