ROCKVILLE, Md. (WJLA) - Montgomery County police have arrested two women, accused of stealing copper, and one of the women was actually being paid to guard it.
Ebony Wood, 28, and her now ex-girlfriend Tiffanie Annan, 33, both of Oxon Hill, are both charged with felony theft. Annan however, says she is only guilty by association.
"I feel injustice because I gave her [Wood] a ride. Whatever else was going on, I was unaware of," Annan told ABC 7. "I disagree with the whole thing."
Annan says she'd just left a nightclub when her cell phone rang. It was Wood, begging for a ride to work. The job --- overnight security at the National Institutes of Health's satellite campus along the 5600 block of Fishers Lane in Rockville.
"She [Wood] said, 'please, please take me to work, I'm going to get fired. My car messed up.' I really didn't want to take her. It was three o'clock in the morning, but because I didn't want her to lose her job, I took her," Annan added.
According to charging documents filed in Montgomery County District Court, a contractor saw Wood placing a large spool of copper (worth $1,250) into the back seat of her black Lexus car. Annan was reportedly sitting in the front passenger seat. Police arrived within minutes, and arrested both women on the spot.
"I'm sitting in the the car. Police come and say, 'what's going on?' Flashlights like, 'what's going on?' I couldn't believe it," Annan remarked. "She [Wood] is a security officer. She's been a security officer for awhile. Like she has police clearances and everything. So I wouldn't think I'd be going with someone to their job, and they'd be stealing with me."
When investigators ran Wood's name in a local pawn database, they found a disturbing track record. Police say on eight separate occasions, the 28-year-old lugged stolen copper to the Joseph Smith & Son's scrap yard in Capitol Heights. In total, the night guard allegedly sold 1606 pounds of pilfered copper, and six pounds of brass. Joseph Smith & Son's, which has more than 20 locations across the Mid-Atlantic region, paid Wood $2,538. However, police say the actual retail value for the metals, used for piping, fittings and electrical wires, was well over $10,000.
"When they [police] pulled up pawn records, my name is nowhere on that. I didn't pawn anything. I don't know anything about copper, any of that. Like I'm a regular girl. I don't know nothing about no warehouse stuff," Annan contended.
Annan, who says she's since severed all ties with Wood, considers herself a victim too.
"I've been so angry, so hurt. I had to pay a bond, and my rent is due. It's just me and my boys. I can't deal with stuff like that. This could be anybody in my position, taking someone to work, and then you're in the middle of whatever they got going on."
Yet seven pages of charging documents, filed by detectives late last month, counter Annan's claims of innocence.
"The investigation revealed text messages indicative of drug use and distribution for income... Your affiant believes that Annan had full knowledge of the theft and previous thefts due to her relationship with Wood," documents state.
ABC 7 visited Wood's brick row-home along the 600 block of Hampton Drive in Oxon Hill. A woman who answered the door said, "no comment," and then walked back inside.
Neighbor Lorenzo McBride, who sees Wood from time-to-time, was less reserved.
"Oh, I had no idea. My neighbor? You wouldn't think, you know what I mean," Wood remarked.
Charging documents say Wood worked for BDS Protective Services. The company, which is based in Washington, D.C., did not return calls for comment.
"You got to watch who you are being with and who you trust, because my life is being turned around because I was involved, because I was in a car, even without my knowledge. This is tearing me apart. I just want it to be over. I don't deserve this," Annan said.