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Police: Man stripped copper from inside closed Bettendorf Schnucks

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Police say a man entered the closed Schnucks grocery store in Bettendorf through a roof hatch and stole more than $10,000 worth of copper.

Taylor Bradford, 29, address unknown, faces three felony charges, including first-degree theft, third-degree burglary and first-degree criminal mischief. He is accused of spending several days inside the vacant grocery store at 858 Middle Road.

Between July 16 and Oct. 17, police say, Bradford removed large amounts of copper wire, copper pipe, HVAC copper and aluminum from the former Schnucks, which closed in August 2020.

A police affidavit accuses him of "causing well over $10,000 in damage" to the building while stealing "well over $10,000" in copper, which he sold to Rich Metals, Davenport, police said. He frequently exchanged the materials for cash by transporting it to Rich Metals on a bicycle, reports show.

A law-enforcement database indicates Bradford was paid $7,963.63 for 109 pieces of copper wire and tubing, aluminum and other scrap metal on 41 tickets to Rich Metals, a police affidavit shows. His girlfriend, who was not identified, sold eight pieces of scrap metal on three tickets to Rich Metals, the document states, fetching $1,067.26.

Scott County Court records show how police say they became aware of Bradford as the suspect: "Bradford left a cigarette pack inside the building from which his fingerprints were developed."

He also left behind receipts from the McDonald's that is adjacent to the former Schnucks, police said.

Restaurant security video showed Bradford conducting the related transactions, police said, and matched his description in the video to a cell-phone photo that was taken of Bradford by someone who discovered the damage and saw him nearby on a bicycle.

He remained in custody Monday at the Scott County Jail, records show, and was being held on $25,000 bond. He also was arrested in May on suspicion of possession of crack cocaine and stolen license plates, according to county records.

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