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Bentleyville man accused of swiping dozens of utility lines

| Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A wire casing on the ground outside a Washington County home led Southwest Regional police to a man now accused of clipping copper ground wires to more than 80 electric utility poles in Bentleyville.

Cory Wayne Thomas George, 22, of Bentleyville is charged with criminal mischief, theft and receiving stolen property for allegedly removing ground wires to “nearly every utility pole in the borough,” according to police officer Stephen T. Schwartz.

A copper casing was found near his back porch, according to police.

“We did have some advance information that (George) may have been involved, but he did eventually confess,” police Chief John Hartman said Monday.

Officials at First Energy, the company that owns the poles, told police that no outages were caused by the thefts, which occurred between June 27 and July 1.

“But First Energy officials did say it could have eventually caused major problems,” Hartman said.

George sold the copper at Ritenour's Auto Wrecking in Ellsworth for approximately $140, Schwartz stated in an affidavit filed before Ellsworth District Judge Curtis Thompson.

George can be seen on surveillance video selling the copper at the business, police said.

First Energy officials told police it cost more than $1,160 to replace the ground lines.

A preliminary hearing will be scheduled before Thompson.

Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-850-2860 .

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