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White Earth man accused of stealing copper from farm irrigation systems, causing extensive damage

A White Earth man was arrested this morning on suspicion of stealing copper from farm irrigation systems -- seriously damaging them in the process -- in order to sell the copper as scrap metal.

William Lawrence Butcher Jr. was arrested early Thursday morning by Becker County deputies and White Earth tribal police officers who executed an arrest warrant for theft and sale of a substantial amount of copper.

The arrest followed months of extensive investigation work by Becker County Deputy Dan Skoog and Investigator John Sieling, according to a news release from the sheriff's office.

Butcher is now in jail waiting arraignment on two counts of Theft of Irrigation System Windings. Damage to each system exceeded $5,700.

"I am anticipating more arrests involving these thefts throughout Becker County and the surrounding areas," Becker County Sheriff Tim Gordon said in a news release.