Two men were allegedly stealing 600 feet of copper wire off utility poles near Somerton.
It was risky, both physically and legally.
"A local resident saw the two subjects," said Belmont County Sheriff Dave Lucas. "One was on the ground, the other was climbing the pole. The property owner confronted them. They claimed they worked for the phone company. The land owner asked for ID, and they didn't have it. Of course, they took off."
So they got away--temporarily.
But later that day, the sheriff says they were seen burning the coating off copper wire on Old Salem Road, near the car they had fled in earlier.
Now, 19-year-old Daryl Lucas of Barnesville and 18-year-old Dakota Leasure of Bethesda are both in the Belmont County Jail, charged with theft, vandalism and possession of criminal tools.
They are each held under $25,000 bond.
Sheriff Lucas credits good investigative work by Sgt. Steve Forro and also good input from the public.
"With the help of the land owner and also the help of a telephone worker who was there repairing the lines from the day before, we were able to track down these two individuals," he noted.
Authorities say copper is a valuable commodity, but stealing it is taking a huge risk of either electrocution or jail time.