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Three Arrested in Cherokee Copper Theft

Three suspects have been charged after allegedly stealing copper wiring from a power substation in Waleska.

Three men have been arrested and charged with allegedly taking roughly 162 pounds of copper from a power substation in Waleska, according to a press release from the Cherokee Sheriff's Office. 

Donnie Chastain, 40, of Talking Rock, Charles Johnson, 34, of Marble Hill and Michael Smith, 31, of Ellijay were all arrested Tuesday and charged with felony theft by taking, criminal damage to property and criminal trespass.

They remain at the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center with a $17,575 bond. 

On Tuesday around 2 a.m., sheriff's deputies were dispatched to an alarm call at a power substation at 4898 Fincher Road in Waleska, which belongs to Georgia Transportation Corporation.

At the scene, deputies discovered the fence on the perimeter was cut and found evidence that someone had been on the property.

Employees of Amicalola EMC arrived and informed deputies that roughly 162 pounds of copper had been taken from the substation, which they said would cost $3,800 to replace. 

Later that evening, Cherokee Sheriff's Office Sgt. Todd Shinall, who responded to the initial call, was reporting for duty when he noticed a vehicle traveling on Fincher Road.

The sergeant recognized the vehicle as it was spotted earlier that day in the area where the copper theft allegedly took place.

Sgt. Shinall saw the truck turn down a dirt road near the substation and called for assistance. 

He and other deputies walked down the road and found two suspects in the woods near the truck while the other suspect was sitting inside the vehicle.

The two suspects in the woods allegedly were preparing to burn the rubber coating off the copper wiring, Lt. Jay Baker said in the press release. 

The copper, which was believed to be the same copper stolen at the substation, was recovered at the scene. 

Kristal Dixon January 16, 2013 at 06:26 PM
Seems like copper theft continues to be an ongoing problem...

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