A 29-year-old suspect is behind bars after Bettendorf Police allege he stole thousands in copper and aluminum materials from the former Schnucks grocery store building.
Taylor Bradford, address unknown, faces felony charges of third-degree burglary, first-degree theft, and first-degree criminal mischief, court records say.
The thefts and damage
Bettendorf Police allege that, between July 16 and Oct. 17, 2022, Bradford forced entry through the roof-access hatch at the now-vacant Schnucks grocery store building, 858 Middle Road, Bettendorf. Once inside, and over numerous days, police allege Bradford removed large amounts of copper wire, copper pipe, and HVAC copper and aluminum components from the building “causing well over $10,000 in damage and well over $10,000 in stolen property loss,” arrest affidavits say.
Fingerprints and video evidence
Bradford left a cigarette pack inside the building from which his fingerprints were developed, according to affidavits.
Affidavits say Bradford also left two McDonald’s restaurant receipts inside the building that were dated from Sept. 12, 2022, from the McDonald’s adjacent to the vacant building. McDonald’s security video from Sept. 12, 2022, shows Bradford conducting the two transactions from the receipts.
On Sept. 30, 2022, workers who located the theft and damage to the building saw a man on a bicycle traveling eastbound from the north side of the store. A cell-phone photo was taken of the man, who was wearing a black backpack and had a large red duffel bag across the handlebars of the bike, affidavits say.
The man “did not acknowledge the crew workers who yelled at him from the roof that day,” according to affidavits.
The man on the bike was wearing a black hat, red T-shirt, black shorts, and black athletic shoes, according to affidavits. He had almost-shoulder-length, shaggy hair. His description matched that of Bradford’s from the McDonald’s video.
When a second burglary report was made for the vacant building on Oct. 17, 2022, inside the store was a black-and-green backpack and a red duffel bag, affidavits say.
A LeadsOnline database search showed from July 27-Oct. 26, 2022, Bradford received $7,963.63 from selling 109 items of scrap copper wire, copper tubing, aluminum, and other scrap metal on 41 tickets to Rich Metals Co. in Davenport, according to affidavits.
Many of those transactions show Bradford arriving on a bicycle. Between Sept. 12-Oct. 17, 2022, “Bradford’s girlfriend received $1,067.26 from selling 8 items of scrap copper wire, copper tubing, aluminum, and other scrap metal on 3 tickets to Rich Metals Co. in Davenport, IA,” affidavits say.
According to affidavits, the property manager for the vacant building said Bradford was unknown to him and he did not have permission to be in the building or take anything from it.
Bradford is being held on $25,000 bond in Scott County Jail and is set for a preliminary hearing Nov. 29 in Scott County Court.