Year-long copper wire theft investigation leads to arrest of 2 Alberta men

File photo. File / Global News

Turner Valley RCMP charged two men in relation to multiple copper wire thefts that have occurred since August 28, 2017.

According to RCMP, there have been nine wire thefts from above ground Telus phone lines in the past year.

“Thefts of copper cable have been an issue in this area over the last year,” Staff Sgt. Dwayne Helgeson said. “Phone lines are a critical piece of infrastructure to the residents in this area and stealing this cable can put local residents in a very bad situation.”

RCMP estimate a total of 2,800 meters of copper wire may have been stolen by the same men over the past year. They also suspect it was being sold to a scrap metal yard in Calgary based on a receipt from a metal yard they discovered.

READ MORE: Copper wire theft cutting out phone service in Spruce Grove

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When the RCMP received an alarm at 3:30 a.m. on June 4 they dispatched a team to investigate. Roughly 30 minutes later they said they found two men about 15 to 20 kilometers from the Telus cable site splitting up the 300 meters of cable into scrap metal.

The area where the incident took place is northwest of Millarville, Alta., according to Helgeson. There is very little if any cell service in the area and if an accident were to happen residents would rely heavily on the use of landlines he said.

Helgeson also said this is not only a case of stolen property but also a matter of property being stolen that put people’s lives at risk.

Global News’ requests to Telus for comment were not returned.

Michael Brown, 42 has been charged with theft under $5,000 and two counts of possession of property obtained by crime under $5,000.

Michael Pratt, 44 is facing one charge of possession of property obtained by crime under $5,000.

The accused are scheduled to appear in court in Turner Valley on July 3.

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