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Four charged in theft of copper wire from power stations

October 04, 2012|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthew.umstead@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Four people have been charged in the theft of more than 400 pounds of copper wire from multiple electric power substations in Berkeley County since August, according to Berkeley County Magistrate Court records.

Justin William Harrison, 25, of Inwood, W.Va., and Samantha Jo Wingard, 18, and Dillon Alexander Nusbaum, 20, both of Hedgesville, W.Va., were arraigned this week on charges of conspiracy to commit breaking and entering, according to court documents.

Harrison is charged with three felony counts of conspiracy and Wingard and Nusbaum each were charged with two counts, according to court document.

Warrants also have been issued charging Kenneth Markley II of Hedgesville, with five counts of breaking and entering and five counts of conspiracy, according to Berkeley County Sheriff’s Deputy Lt. Gary Harmison.

Markley is being held by police in Baltimore on unrelated charges, but Harmison said Wednesday they intend to eventually extradite him to Berkeley County for arraignment on the felony charges.

The charges filed against the defendants stem from police investigation of five cases of copper ground wire theft at four Potomac Edison substations, according to Harmison.

Charges have yet to be filed in three other cases of copper wire theft from substations in Berkeley County, according to Harmison. Another case in Morgan County also is pending, Harmison said.

The substation at Hammonds Mill Road and McCoy’s Ferry Road in Spring Mills was struck twice, according to Harmison.

The three other stations targeted are along T.J. Jackson Drive off Knipetown Road north of Martinsburg, Corning Way south of Martinsburg and along U.S. 11 near Business Park Drive at Tabler Station, according to Harmison.

The value of the copper stolen was calculated to be about $1,392, but Harmison said the cost of repairing the damage to the substation fence as well as the power company’s equipment exceeded $30,000.

The stolen copper wire was sold at multiple scrap metal businesses in the area, according to court documents.

Harmison said the wire thefts were drug-related.

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