ODENTON, Md. (WJZ) –An attempted copper theft in Anne Arundel County knocks out power to nearly 2,000 residents.
Monique Griego has more on what thieves were targeting.
When the power went out at the Kris Leigh Assisted Living Center in Odenton, an employee rushed to check on residents and inadvertently stumbled upon a crime scene.
“She saw two males holding cables, running through the yard up the driveway and a car picked them up,” said Lisa Sessoms, executive director of Kris Leigh.
Sessoms says the worker called 911, and thanks to her description, Anne Arundel County Police pulled the suspects over a short distance away. All four were arrested after officers found tree trimmers and 250 feet of stolen copper wiring inside the car.
Investigators say they’d stolen it from a BGE utility pole in the 1000-block of Annapolis Road.
“We’re not sure how many crimes this crew is responsible for,” said Chief Kevin Davis, Anne Arundel County Police.
BGE has become a prime target for copper thefts. Substations have been hit and lot of power poles. That’s exactly what happened this time. Thieves cut one of the wires hoping to get the copper out.
“Their putting their lives and other lives in danger by trying to enter into a high voltage facility or try to cut the wires from the overhead. It’s really dangerous,” said Rachael Lighty, BGE spokeswoman.
This time one of the suspects knew enough to cut through a neutral line, but it fell onto a hot line and that’s what knocked out power for more than an hour to nearly 1,800 residents.
Police say thieves get about $3 for a foot of copper wiring. This heist would have netted the thieves less than $300.
Now Jason Nelson Tomlinson, Jim Brown Nichols, Melissa Ann Howell and Michael Joseph Spenard are facing a list of serious charges.
Police say the suspects were from Clinton, Odenton, Suitland and Waldorf.
“The precious metal thefts in Anne Arundel County are something we’re taking very seriously,” Davis said.
All of the suspects were charged with theft and destruction of property in addition to other minor charges.
Because copper thefts are so prevalent, police say they’re looking at changing the law to make scrap yards keep better track of who’s bringing in the stolen goods.
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