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      Four Marion County employees arrested in copper theft operation

      An employee of the Marion County Prison Farm and three other Marion County employees have been arrested in connection with a copper and metal theft operation, according to Marion County Administrator Tim Harper.

      Harper says the prison farm bus driver, John Reichardt, Sr., is accused of making inmates steal copper and scrap metal. He says on one occasion Reichardt is alleged to have forced the inmates to break into an old farm house where they stole 200 feet worth of copper and a hot water heater.

      Reichardt would sell all of the copper at a local scrap yard and keep the money, Harper said. He adds some of the cash would be split between the three other county employees.

      The Marion County Sheriff's Office began investigating after receiving a tip from an inmate.

      Harper says Reichardt has been fired from the Prison Farm, and the other three county employees are suspended without pay pending the outcome of the investigation.

      The others charged are John Reichardt, Jr, 37, Alvin Wilson,51 and James Ammons,55.

      They're each charged with Breach of Trust and Fraudulent Intent.