People accused of stealing telephone wiring

By: Marcus Conroy Email
By: Marcus Conroy Email

Four people are accused of stealing thousands of feet of telephone lines containing copper wiring in Clay County.

Windstream officials estimate that about a mile's worth of telephone wire was stolen throughout the county in just the past two months.

Clay County Sheriff Kevin Johnson says Windstream first contacted the office several months ago, saying thieves were stealing hundreds of feet of telephone wire.

"It's been horribly horribly frustrating thing," said Chris Campbell of Windstream.

Campbell estimates that between November 2010 to January, more than five thousand feet of wiring was stolen across the county. This caused about 8,000 homes to lose service at some point in that time period.

"Anybody that has some type of medical emergency has no way of contacting anybody," said Sheriff Johnson.

At one spot on Lower Rader Road, more than 200 feet of telephone wire was stolen on three different occasions, knocking out service for more than 100 customers.

Police investigated, and arrested four people: Jerriet B. Wagers, Jason D. Hubbard, James B. Hart, and Timothy L. Hubbard.

"It seems to have stopped, and we have more individuals also going to be arrested in the future," said Johnson.

Campbell says Windstream is thankful for help from the police, however he adds that this is a widespread problem across the state.

All four arrested are charged with theft, and have since posted bond.

Campbell says during the past year and a half, Windstream has had to replace about $1.5 million worth of stolen wiring across the state.

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