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Sheriff ’s department arrests 2 more suspects in copper thefts

Two more Blackey men have been accused of stealing copper from AT&T telephone lines.

Michael Wayne Sexton, 39, of 34 Shiloh Drive, and Anthony Back, 20, of 363 Woodrock Road, were arrested Feb. 1 and charged with receiving stolen property.

Lt. Brian Damron of the Letcher County Sheriff ’s Department said warrants have also been issued for the arrests of four more people who are connected to recent copper thefts.

A preliminary hearing for Sexton is set for 1 p.m. on Feb. 9. Sexton is being held in the Letcher County Jail. Bond is set at $20,000 cash.

Preliminary hearings were held Feb. 2 for three Blackey men who were already accused of stealing copper from AT&T lines. Wade ‘Troubles’ Engle, Curtis R. ‘Ricky’ Halcomb and Cecil J. Slone each were charged with one count of theft by unlawful taking and one count of first-degree criminal mischief.

Letcher District Judge Kevin Mullins ruled there was enough evidence against the men to refer the charges to a Letcher County Grand Jury for further action. Mullins also declined to reduce bonds for the defendants from $50,000 cash during a hearing held Feb. 2, ruling that the copper thefts had an adverse affect on the daily lives of people who had to do without the use of a telephone until service was restored.

Damron said in addition to the inconvenience, the copper thefts created a hazard for telephone customers in need of an ambulance, fire truck or police. Damron said copper has been stolen from telephone lines at least 17 times since December 12. He said the thefts total about $110,000 in losses to AT&T and have occurred in and around Blackey, Kingscreek and Linefork.

Police recovered 424 pounds of copper from a scrap metal dealer in Virginia and Damron said police are working with Virginia authorities during the investigation.

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