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Forum staff reports, Published April 10 2013

Arrests link trio of suspects to two Fargo thefts of more than $160,000 in copper

FARGO – Police here said Wednesday they’ve linked a trio of men to two recent large copper thefts – including a heist of 26,000 pounds of the metal last weekend that was the city’s largest copper theft in recent memory.

Various felony burglary and theft charges are either pending or filed in both Cass and Clay counties against five men in those thefts and a Sunday night burglary in Moorhead.

Deputy Police Chief Pat Claus said after a prolonged surveillance operation by Fargo and Moorhead police, two men – Elvis Hasimovic, 28, of Fargo, and Luis Perez Jr., 34, of Moorhead – were arrested Wednesday after an 8:30 a.m. traffic stop in Fargo.

Police searched the vehicle and found about $60,000 in currency and checks, Claus said.

The third man suspected in the two Fargo thefts is Sabastijan Tahirovic, 20, of Fargo, who was already in custody in connection with the burglary at Rick Electric reported Monday.

The trio is suspected of burglarizing Dakota Supply Group in north Fargo, also reported Monday, as well as at Fargo Electric on Feb. 25. The copper wire stolen from Dakota Supply Group was estimated to be worth $112,000. The wire stolen from Fargo Electric was worth an estimated $50,000.

Tahirovic was charged in Clay County District Court Wednesday with felony second-degree burglary and felony theft. Two other Fargo men, 22-year-old Jon Cody Jacob Poitra and 18-year-old Andreas Redzic, were also charged with Tahirovic.

Charging documents filed in the case allege officers in Fargo located and seized a truck full of copper wire after a witness saw people removing wire from a garage on 31st Avenue South and loading it onto the truck.

Tahirovic, Poitra and Redzic were in the truck, and police claim Tahirovic told officers the three went to Rick Electric to break into the building to steal copper wire, using a dolly to move some of it from the building and transport it via a moving van rented for that purpose to a south Fargo garage, where they planned to sell it to scrap dealers out of town.

The wire’s value was estimated at up to $4,000 and was identified with a data code on the rubber cording, police claim.

Police also claim in court records that “Tahirovic was apologetic for the theft.”

Claus said in a news release that the arrests were based on forensic evidence collected at the scenes of both Fargo burglaries, a review of video and other records provided by the businesses and information developed jointly with Moorhead police.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Emily Welker at (701) 241-5541