High-wire act lands suspected copper thieves in county jail

Citizen contacts authorities after finding fence, utility wires cut

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

April 25, 2008 - Three men were jailed Thursday evening after they were observed cutting high wires on utility poles to strip them for copper.

A County Road 1196 resident, whose barbed wire fence was cut by the out-of-town trio so they could get to the wiring, caught them in the act and reported them to authorities, according to sheriff's reports.

Steve Eddy Turner, 49, of Terrell; Javen Mycah Deal, 29, of Hawk Cove; and Tanner-James Scott Christy, 18, of Quinlan were all arrested at 6:36 p.m. in Wood County for theft of property and criminal mischief, both state jail felony offenses.

Sheriff's deputies were first alerted at 5:49 p.m. Thursday of a white male in a tank top cutting wires on County Road 1196. They then were advised there were three men in a white van, and that one appeared to have protective boots on, according to sheriff's report.

The trio had high-tailed it when the deputies arrived. The complainant indicated a section of barbed wire fence had been cut in order for the suspects to gain access to the high rise wires. They were last seen headed east on CR 1196 toward Wood County.

Deputies converged in the area, searching into Wood County for the van. One deputy, after doubling back on Wood County Road 1180, spotted what appeared to be the suspect vehicle headed south.

They were stopped at the intersection of Wood County Road 1181.

The complainant identified the men as the trio seen cutting wires. All three were arrested for theft of the 350-foot section of wiring found at the scene.

They were also charged with criminal mischief for causing $1,600 in damage to the barbed wire fence they are alleged to have cut to access the high wires, apparently to strip for copper for resell.

The trio was jailed and the wiring returned to Wood County Electric Co-op, according to arrest and offense reports.

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