A Litchfield man was charged Thursday in Madison County Circuit Court with two felony charges of aggravated battery to a police officer, three felony charges of theft over $500 and one felony charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, according to a press release from Madison County Sheriff Robert J. Hertz.
Police identified the man as Lee A. Franks, 32, of a Post Office box in Litchfield.
During June, July, and August, the Madison County Sheriff’s Office responded to multiple reports of copper thefts in rural Madison County. Each of the calls related to the theft of copper wire from cellular phone towers. Targeted areas included rural Hamel, New Douglas and Worden.
Sheriff’s investigators coordinated efforts with a Macoupin County deputy, who developed evidence linking Lee A. Franks to similar thefts in Macoupin County. A warrant was issued out of Macoupin County for the arrest of Franks in connection with thefts in Macoupin County.
On Tuesday, Aug. 26, at approximately 1 p.m., sheriff’s investigators located Franks at a motel in East Alton. Franks was uncooperative with investigators and resisted arrest on the warrant. While resisting arrest, Franks grabbed and twisted the wrist of both investigators as they were attempting to place him in handcuffs. Investigators were ultimately successful in securing Franks, who was transported to the Madison County Jail, where he was held pending a formal review of facts by the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Investigators continued to investigate the copper thefts in rural Madison County after the arrest of Franks. The continued investigative efforts resulted in the collection of evidence linking Franks to several of the copper thefts in rural Madison County. Further evidence developed by investigators linked Franks to a juvenile, who Franks solicited the assistance of in committing the thefts. Charges are being petitioned through the juvenile court against the juvenile.
The felony warrant and information on Franks was signed by Judge Richard Tognarelli, who set Franks’ bond at $100,000.