Whitesburg KY

Grand jury says 11 copper thieves were a syndicate

Eleven people have been charged by the Letcher County Grand Jury with engaging in organized crime in connection with the theft of copper from AT&T telecommunication lines.

Charged with participating in a criminal syndication from December through January are:

• Curtis Ricky Halcomb, 46, 36 Mesa Drive, Blackey.

• Bobby Shane Sexton, 151 Crases Branch, Letcher.

• Anthony Back, 20, 363 Woodrock Rd., Blackey.

• Tristan Derrick Adams, 24, P.O. Box 38, 70 R.B. Road, Jeremiah, who is also charged with being a persistent felony offender.

• Eric Duwayne Howard, 29, P.O. Box 5, 1119 Ky. Hwy. 2036, Isom.

• Cory Gamble, 21, 243 Carcassonne Rd., Vicco.

• Jina Liane Back, also known as Jina Johnson, 42, 363 Woodrock Road, Blackey.

• David Jason Bowling, 36, 4013 Hwy. 7 South, Apt. 2, Isom.

• Cecil James Slone, 31, 13215 Ky. Hwy. 588, Blackey.

• Michael Wayne Sexton, 39, 34 Shiloh Drive, Blackey.

• Wade “Trouble” Engle, 47, 1144 Carcassonne Road, Blackey, who is also charged with being a persistent felony offender.

In a second indictment, Engle is accused of 15 counts including fleeing or evading police, two counts of wanton endangerment, criminal mischief, no operator’s license, no possession of license, failure to produce insurance card, failure to maintain insurance, improper display of registration plate, improper registration plates, no/ expired registration receipt, no/expired registration plates, resisting arrest, tampering with evidence, and being a persistent felony offender.

The grand jury says Engle attempt to flee from a marked police cruiser on January 25, endangering his passenger, Jason Bolling, and Letcher County Sheriff ’s Lt. Brian Damron by driving at an excessive speed down a narrow road, and passing vehicles in no passing zones. He is accused of turning off onto a logging road and turning around and striking the police cruiser driven by Damron.

Engle is also charged with concealing a receipt for the purchase of copper wire, which was stolen from AT&T.

Copper thefts continued over the weekend in Letcher County despite the unusual number of indictments.

Cathy Lewandowski, senior public relations manager of AT&T Strategic Communications, said several hundred feet of telephone cable was stolen Van area, resulting in service interruption for numerous customers. Lewandowski said service was restored as quickly as possible.

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