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Lincoln police have arrested two more men on suspicion of burglary in an investigation into a rash of copper piping thefts that have caused $70,000 damage to local homes and businesses since last summer. 

As police probed the 71 copper thefts since last August, interviews with scrapyard dealers and tips fielded by the department pointed to Bryn Rusco and Charles Hellbusch as persons of interest, Officer Angela Sands said Friday.

An officer had been conducting surveillance on the two and was watching them Thursday at 8 a.m. when Rusco and Hellbusch were seen entering the grounds of the Nebraska Prime plant at 4611 W. Adams St., Sands said. 

The two got in through a hole in the perimeter fence, she said.

Officers surrounded the plant and found the men inside. 

They had removed $400 in copper pipe from the plant, she said. 

Both were arrested on suspicion of burglary and possession of burglar's tools. 

Their arrest follows the arrest of Mitchell D. Wachter, 43, who is accused of stealing copper from a home in northeast Lincoln on April 5 and threatening a neighbor who was suspicious of him.

Investigators are still looking into whether Wachter, Rusco and Hellbusch are involved in other burglaries, she said. 

They encourage anyone with information on the burglaries to call 402-441-6000.

So far, the total loss to owners in the copper thefts totals $40,000. 

Reach the writer at 402-473-2657 or

On Twitter @LJSRileyJohnson.


Riley Johnson reports on breaking news and public safety issues in Lincoln and southeast Nebraska.

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