Wichita Plant Loses More Than $100,000 In Theft

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Wichita, KAN. (KAKE)-- A south Wichita pavement recycling facility is hit by thieves sometime between Monday night and Tuesday morning.

The Cornejo plant 31st south and K-15 crushes old highway pavement into smaller rock for new pavement.

The thieves cut through a chain locking a gate, shut off the power to the plant and began stripping out copper wire. They also took tools, tanks for acetylene torches and other items according to plant supervisor Jon Lewman.

Police investigators were on the scene Monday morning checking out footprints in the snow and dusting for fingerprints.

Lewman said the plant will be shut down for two weeks for repairs.
He said he's frustrated. "You do a lot of damage for a little bit of money," Lewman said. "We all work too. You know we need to have our jobs, and this right here kills our jobs."

Lewman said the crooks also trashed a motor valued at sixty thousand dollars. Between the theft and damage repair Lewman said the company is out more than one hundred thousand dollars.

Lewman said other Cornejo plants have been hit in the past but he said they are installing new security systems to put a stop to this. And he's asking the pubic that if anyone saw anything unusual near the plant Monday night or Tuesday before 6:30 AM to contact Cornejo or the Wichita Police Department.