Florida Atlantic University scholarship football player suspected in copper wire theft

Standout at Sebastian River High School

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — A former Sebastian River High School football standout was one of two suspects in a copper wire burglary last weekend, the Indian River County Sheriff's Office said.

Deputies took Cortez Ash, 19, of Boca Raton and an accused accomplice into custody Saturday when the pair returned to the same scrap yard where they allegedly stole 400 pounds of copper wire, according to their affidavits. Staff at the scrap yard said the men were trying to sell the stolen wire to them, the affidavits state.

The copper was valued at $1,260, the Sheriff's Office said.

Ash graduated from SRHS last year and is on a football scholarship at Florida Atlantic University.

Security cameras at Indian River Scrap in the 4600 block of 45th Street show two men on the property at 3:15 a.m. Saturday, the Sheriff's Office said. The suspects broke through a fence and dragged the copper wiring underneath the fence, according to the affidavits. The burglary was reported by the owners at 8:25 a.m. Saturday.

About 2 hours later, Ash and Donovan Roberts, 21, of the 4000 block of 41st Square, Vero Beach, showed up at the scrap yard and wanted to sell several pounds of copper wire, the Sheriff's Office said. The business owner, who had viewed the surveillance video and recognized the suspects, called 911.

In his interview with detectives, Roberts said he acted alone in the break-in, though the video showed two burglars, his affidavit states. Roberts would have taken the wire to another nearby scrap yard, but it was closed, he told detectives.

Ash and Roberts were charged with burglary of a business, third-degree grand theft and dealing in stolen property. Roberts remained at the Indian River County Jail in lieu of $7,500 bail, while Ash posted bail Sunday.

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