Orangeburg sheriff's office searches for 2 copper theft suspects, catch one

Brandon Lee Varner (provided)

ORANGEBURG, S.C. (WCIV)-- Orangeburg County Sheriff's deputies are looking for a Moncks Corner man wanted for damaging an irrigation system and attempting to steal copper wire from a Eutawville farm.According to Sheriff Leroy Ravenell, officers were called to a Harvest Court farm on Wednesday morning just after 1 a.m. where they found a silver Honda Accord in the field with a 12 gauge shotgun on the front seat and two sets of driver's license, one belonging to Wesley Lee Craven of Bonneau.Officers called out the K9 tracking team and a manhunt lasting several hours ensued. Craven was found and arrested five miles from the farm around 8 a.m. Brandon Lee Varner is still on the loose."We are letting the crooks know that we are monitoring farms and irrigation systems since these have been the primary targets of copper theft over the past several months," said Ravenell. "Citizens are also asked to be vigilant when they are traveling pass farms at night. If anyone observes suspicious activity, they should immediately contact law enforcement. We need as much help in stopping would-be thieves as possible."

Both Varner and Craven face charges of malicious injury to animals, personal property, with an injury value of $10,000 or more; criminal conspiracy, common Law conspiracy and grand larceny with a value of more than $2,000 but less than $10,000.If anyone knows the whereabouts of Brandon Lee Varner, they are asked to call the Orangeburg Sheriff's Office at 803-308-4091."I personally observed the amount of effort it took Craven and Varner to remove the copper from the irrigation system," said Ravenell. "With all the effort that these men utilized to steal from a business owner in this county, they should be using these same skills to get and keep a job!"