SC Suspects Arrested in Elbert County Power Line Thefts

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By David Stephens, WSGC Radio, Elberton

In Elbert County, a unique style of stealing copper wire backfires on four South Carolina suspects. 

According to Elbert County Sheriff’s Investigator Darren Scarborough, dispatchers received a report last Tuesday morning that four  people were seen loading material into a truck off of Calhoun Falls Highway. 

Scarborough said deputies went out to the scene and brought the four in for questioning.

While talking to the suspects, he said Elberton City employees found some stolen items and equipment.

“We transported all four people to the Elbert County Detention Center, and some employees with the City of Elberton called us back down to the scene and they had located some Neutral Line that had been stolen”, explained Scarborough. “In the back of the truck underneath the tin was a manual limb trimmer, a pair of bolt cutters, and a set of side cutting pliers.”

Roughly two thousand feet of neutral line had been snipped and stolen from power lines in the area, according to the Sheriff’s office.

“What they were doing was hooking the manual limb trimmer over the power line, and when you pull a rope there is a blade that swings out and cuts, so I think they were pulling down on the line and when it snapped they would take the bolt cutters and reach up as far as they could, and then would cut off what they could reach and roll it up.”

Arrested were Melissa Smith, Terry Allen, Marty Vaughn, and Sandie Vaughn; all are from the Iva-Belton, South Carolina area.

All four are charged with one count each of Criminal Trespass, Misdemeanor Theft by Taking, Felony Theft by Taking, and Possession of Tools during the Commission of a Crime.