Police are asking for the public’s help locating two people accused of stealing copper from a Newark hardware store.

The theft happened just before 4 p.m. Sept. 13 at the Home Depot at Suburban Plaza, according to Lt. Andrew Rubin, a spokesman for the Newark Police Department.

An employee saw the thieves walk out of the store with large spools of insulated copper wire, Rubin said.

An employee who watched surveillance footage recognized one of the suspects as Ashley Foley, 25, of Clayton. Police later identified the other as Michael McGinnis, 30, of Kenton, Rubin said.

Foley and McGinnis were driving a silver Chevrolet Tahoe with license plate DE C480810.

Police have obtained warrants charging them with organized retail crime and conspiracy. They are wanted by several other Delaware police departments on similar charges, Rubin said.

Organized retail crime is a relatively new charge in Newark, put in effect last year to combat an increase in complex, organized theft rings.

“It became clear that we were often dealing with organized groups of criminals, as well as defendants who used shoplifting tools to defeat anti-shoplifting countermeasures in stores,” Sgt. Greg D’Elia explained at the time.

The offense is defined as a person or group of people stealing items in large quantities with the intent of reselling the merchandise. It is punishable by up to a year in jail and/or a fine up to $500.

Anyone with information on McGinnis or Foley’s whereabouts is asked to contact PFC Carter McKennon at 302-366-7100, ext. 3491, or cmckennon@newark.de.us.

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