Thieves posting as Cherokee Indians steal 40,000 pounds of copper wire from Seattle City Light

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SEATTLE - About 40,000 pounds of copper wire were stolen from Seattle City Light after crooks tricked staff into showing them exactly where it was stored.

The thieves claimed to be from an Indian tribe trying to raise money for disabled kids.

 The theft took place here at City Light's South Service Center, but the thieves didn't have to get over the security fence.  Someone there let them in.

 Seattle City Light admitted it was tricked.

 “They had a very convincing hoax that we’re now investigating as to why we fell for that,” said City Light Spokesman John Gustafson.

  Gustafson said it happened Tuesday when two men dressed in Native American attire claiming to be Cherokee Indians were escorted onto the secure property.  They said they wanted to collect a few pounds of scrap metal to raise money for a disabled children's charity.

  Instead, investigators said the thieves used two large trucks to haul away 20 tons of scrap copper wire.

 KIRO 7 reporter Deborah Horne: “How did that happen?”

 “Well, apparently they were very good at what they did,” said Gustafson.

 The suspects were tracked to Portland where two juveniles and two adults were arrested.  Sources told KIRO 7 the adults are 45-year-old Michael George and 62-year-old Jim Costa. Both were booked into jail on charges of one count of aggravated theft.

 Both are now free on bail. Horne asked Seattle residents what they thought about the scam.

 “It seems kind of sketchy sometimes.  You know what happens down here in the industrial area, so I’m really not surprised, honestly,” said neighbor Zach Myers.

  City Light has surveillance video.  They say they are looking at every employee who came into contact with the thieves to help them figure out how it happened.