PHILADELPHIA (CBS)—Eight factory workers are facing charges after investigators say they engaged in a coordinated conspiracy to steal over 55 tons of nickel from a Chester County ­facility, resulting in a nearly $1 million loss for the company

The Chester County District Attorney’s Office says the investigation began when a plant worker of the ArcelorMittal factory noticed a co-worker placing nickel briquettes into a bucket and removing them.

ArcelorMittal, which is based in South Coatesville, produces steel. One of the main components of steel is nickel, which is stored in “super sacks”.

The company buys the nickel for roughly $8 to $9 per pound.

According to investigators, eight workers–some that worked for ArcelorMittal directly and others that worked for a supply company –conspired to steal the nickel and then resell it.

Some of the defendants would arrange to have a “super sack” moved to different areas of the factory, allowing it to be accessed for theft.  Other workers were in charge of moving the nickel out of the factory, ultimately making a profit of $911,093.92.

Authorities say the defendants sold the nickel to PASCO Incorporated, a metal recycling company in Philadelphia.

The company bought the nickel for $4 per pound. The defendants would then take their issued checks and deposit them in their own bank accounts which allowed investigators to track the thefts.

The following eight people are facing charges:

  • Dane K. Douglas, 39
  • Corey Douglas, 36
  • Aaron L. Anderson, 36
  • George Glassco, 56
  • Richard R. Cooper, 54
  • Maurice Dennish, 26
  • Jeffrey Shuler, 55
  • Marcus Pearce, 25

The suspects have all been arrested, except for Richard Cooper, who is currently in Texas, police say.

They are being charged with felony theft counts and related offense.

“By stealing from their own company, these defendants were taking food off the table from their own colleagues,” said District Attorney Tom Hogan. “This type of theft cuts into the company’s bottom line, leading to reduced salaries and layoffs. These defendants betrayed their own friends and co-workers.”