Man sought in connection with possible copper theft

The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office is looking for Stephen Effertz, 40, of Wichita, after he fled from law enforcement officers on Monday.

Effertz and another man were observed driving a white Chevrolet Suburban in a field near 4700 W. 55th Street at 10:45 a.m., the Sheriff’s Office said. Deputies noticed a large bundle of copper wire in the vehicle and then noticed smoke coming from nearby.

Lt. David Mattingly said the smoke most likely came from the men burning the plastic coating off the copper wire, which was “highly likely” to have been stolen.

When deputies tried to make contact with the two men, they fled in the Suburban, which later became stuck. The 31-year-old man was taken into custody.

Mattingly said Effertz already has an outstanding warrant for his arrest and is sought for questioning.