Four people have been arrested in connection with copper theft which left hundreds without phone service in eastern Wyoming County.
James Daniels, 56, of Rockview, Bobby McKinney, 44, of Mullens, Nancy Tate, 46, of Mullens and Tanya Jenkins, 35, of Mullens all face charges of grand larceny, felony destruction of property and interruption of phone service by theft, according to Sheriff Randall Aliff.
They were arraigned before Magistrate Kim Farmer, who set bond at $100,000 each. Bond in Raleigh County was set at $50,000.
The four are currently in Southern Regional Jail.
“The theft occurred just outside of Mullens on Wednesday night,” Aliff said.”About 350 feet of cable was stolen and it disrupted phone service to 1,300 people from Mullens up along Route 16.”
The outage extended as far as Helen in Raleigh County.
“The accused went to Barkers Recycling and tried to sell (the cable),” Aliff noted. “Barkers Recycline contacted the State Police in Raleigh County and they quickly responded and got the vehicle stopped. The copper was still there.
“What helps us is when these dealers contact law enforcement,” he added. “That makes all the difference in the world.”
He observed that the interruptions in phone service are particularly dangerous for the elderly. “You have people who are on these life alert systems or someone who has an emergency and can’t get a call out.”