Judge could order competency exam for former contractor in copper pipe theft
JANESVILLE A Janesville man accused of stealing more than $2 million of copper piping from his employer might have used money from selling the pipe to feed a gambling problem that led him to plug $24 million into slot machines at Ho Chunk Gaming over the last six years.
Steven R. Stoikes, 43, of 4012 Ingram Drive, Janesville, was $3.2 million in the hole at Ho Chunk when a Rock County Sheriff's Office detective started investigating the case in July, according to the criminal complaint.
Stoikes is charged with five counts of felony theft from his former employer, Butters-Fetting, 2627 E. Delavan Drive, Janesville.
In court Wednesday, assistant public defender Walter Isaacson said Stoikes has been staying at Wisconsin Veterans Home at King, a long-term care facility near Waupaca. Stoikes had attempted suicide earlier.
Next month, Judge James Daley will decide whether to order a competency examination to determine whether Stoikes is able to stand trial. Stoikes is free on a $2,500 signature bond, according to online court documents.
Stoikes worked as a general manager at Butters-Fetting at 2627 County O in the town of La Prairie. Butters-Fetting is a mechanical contracting company. Stoikes was in charge of ordering materials for projects, according to the criminal complaint.
He was suspended from work July 16, according to the complaint.
Company officials called sheriff's office investigators in July when they realized they were losing money on jobs on which Stoikes was working. An audit revealed Stoikes was ordering copper pipe for five jobs that didn't need it or that didn't exist, according to the complaint.
Alter Metal Recycling in Janesville had receipts showing payment to Stoikes of $965,203 for copper. That was the scrap value of the copper. The actual value was between $2 million and $3 million, an Alter account representative told police.
Stoikes had been selling copper to Alter for more than seven years, she said.
Between July 2010 and July 2012, Stoikes sold 299,493 pounds of copper to Alter, according to the complaint.
Stoikes was ordering copper pipe that was thicker than the contractor usually uses and for projects that didn't need it. He ordered copper in 10-foot lengths, which Butters-Fetting doesn't use, according to the complaint.
He picked up the copper from Ferguson Supply in Loves Park, Ill. Although the supply company offered to deliver the pipe to job sites, Stoikes declined, a sales associate said. Stoikes told the sales associate he picked it up himself because he didn't trust some of his workers, according to the complaint.
Stoikes had gone to Ho Chunk Gaming 514 times since October 2006, according to the complaint. He wagered or spent winnings totaling $24.27 million. He was paid $21.05 million, according to Ho Chunk records.
A Ho Chunk security supervisor said he has helped with between 50 and 75 investigations in the 19 years he has worked for Ho Chunk. The money Stoikes spent is the highest dollar amount the security agent had ever seen, according to the complaint.