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Man arrested in Bentleyville copper thefts

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Cory George

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By The Valley Independent
Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A Bentleyville man was arrested Friday on charges he stole copper wiring from at least 80 utility poles in the borough.

Cory Wayne Thomas George, 24, of 138 Pittsburgh Road, was arrested on a warrant at his residence, Southwest Regional police Chief John Hartman said.

George was charged Aug. 13 with a felony count of criminal mischief and misdemeanor counts of theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property. Hartman said George “disappeared,” after the charges were filed. Police received information Friday George was back in Bentleyville, Hartman said.

Police said George allegedly admitted to stealing approximately 6 feet of wire from each of the 80 poles from June 27 through July 1 before selling it at Ritenour and Son's Auto Wreckers in Ellsworth for $140.

On July 16, Lt. Stephen Schwartz arrived at George's residence with a search warrant for an unrelated investigation and saw a piece of cut copper wiring with black casing on the front deck and a burnt wire casing on the back deck.

Schwartz also allegedly saw a large fire pit in the backyard that George is suspected of using to burn off casings.

George was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Curt Thompson in Ellsworth and sent to the Washington County Correctional Facility in lieu of $25,000 bond.

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