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Man charged after burglary at Potomac Edison substation

April 08, 2013|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthew.umstead@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Police captured a man early Monday near the Potomac Edison substation along Williamsport Pike within minutes after responding to a burglary alarm at the property, according to Berkeley County Magistrate Court records.

Gary Allen Cooper, 39, of 98 Brandewine Circle, Martinsburg, was arraigned by Magistrate Betty Jo Hersh on single counts of breaking and entering, conspiracy to commit a felony and fleeing on foot, according to court documents.

West Virginia State Police Trooper M.C. Morgan said in a criminal complaint that Cooper admitted to breaking into the property at 3380 Williamsport Pike, but also implicated a second, unnamed suspect.

Morgan said Cooper told the officer “that he was the look out and that this was his first time stealing from this location,” the trooper said in his complaint.

Morgan said the defendant admitted that he and another suspect entered the property through a hole in the fence and began to cut the copper ground wires, according to court documents.

Reports of destruction of property concerning the fence and a previous copper wire larceny were reported last Monday and on Saturday, according to court documents.

Morgan said the defendant and the other suspect were on the property for about 30 minutes before law enforcement officers arrived.

Morgan said he received a call for a commercial alarm at 2:52 a.m. and arrived at the substation about six minutes later with State Police Cpl. D.S. See and Trooper D.M. Hart, documents state.

While inspecting the perimeter of the property, Morgan said he heard the sound of a metal gate being rattled and then saw a male suspect running from the substation, according to documents.

Morgan said the suspect ran east and over an embankment and into a “heavy foliage area” before he was detained after fleeing east again, court documents state.

A Potomac Edison official later told police that 17 copper ground wires had been cut from support poles at the substation, according to court documents.

Five pieces of wire were found near a hole in the property fence and Morgan said he also found a bolt cutter, documents state.

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