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Pair arrested after allegedly selling stolen wiring

Posted: Wednesday, October 27, 2010

You could call it a melt down.

Alaska State Troopers arrested two Kasilof residents on Oct. 22 after the pair allegedly broke into a fish processing plant, stripped the building of its electrical wires, melted down the wires and sold the metal to two Soldotna-area salvage companies.

John Arnold Gilbert Wardas, 31, and Sarah Lorraine Urdahl, 27, received less than $2,000 for the metal extracted from Icicle Seafood's electrical wires, but caused between $25,000 and $50,000 in property damage, according to troopers and the recycling plants.

Duff Hoyt, the manager of Icicle, said he felt "violated" when troopers told him about the damage.

"You wouldn't think about it happening up here," Hoyt said. "They stripped everything down to the transformers. They did a pretty thorough job."

Because of the damage, the Ninilchik shop can't be used right now, Hoyt said. The business is looking into fixing the damage.

Urdahl told troopers it took two to three nights to extract the wire, which contained mostly copper and some aluminum.

Peninsula Scrap and Salvage Company, on Kalifornsky Beach Road, paid $1,100 to Wardas and Urdahl for 902 pounds of metal, according to company records.

Peninsula Tank and Recycling, on the Sterling Highway, paid the pair approximately $500, according to the company's owner.

Wardas and Urdahl face felony burglary, first-degree theft and criminal mischief charges.

Andrew Waite can be reached at andrew.waite@peninsulaclarion.com.



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