Eight men are charged with stealing more than 55 tons of nickel, worth almost $1 million.
Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan announced the material came from the international steel and mining company ArcelorMittal, which has a factory in South Coatesville.
According to Hogan, the eight worked there or for related companies, and conspired to steal and resell the nickel.
He said ArcelorMittal processes steel, and nickel is one of the main components, costing $8-$9 per pound. Thousands of pounds are stored in "super sacks" and a plant manager noticed defendant George Glassco "placing nickel briquettes into a bucket and removing them. The nickel that is stored in the super sacks often is in the form of briquettes, which look like silver-colored charcoal briquettes."
The manager called company security, who called detectives and the district attorney's office.
The DA's office reports, "The detectives uncovered a sophisticated and coordinated scheme to steal nickel that stretched over years."
It said they'd arrange to have a super sack moved to a different area for the theft. Some moved the nickel and others got it out of the factory, sometimes by backpack, private vehicle, and once loading "an entire super sack of nickel onto a box truck. The weight in the rear of the truck was so heavy that it caused the front wheels of the truck to lift off the ground and almost tip the truck over."
The DA also says they used code to communicate and paid defendants in security "to look the other way."
Outside the factory, they're accused of reselling the nickel at Philadelphia metal recycling company PASCO International, which paid $4 per pound. PASCO paid by check, which helped detectives investigating.
The defendants are brothers Dane Douglas and Corey Douglas, Aaron Anderson, George Glassco, Maurice Dennis, Jeffrey Shuler and Marcus Pearce. All have been arrested except Richard Cooper, who is in Texas.
All are charged with felony theft and related offenses.