Irwin Co. deputies bust copper wire thefts - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Irwin Co. deputies bust copper wire thefts

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Irwin County, GA - The drought may be putting a strain on South Georgia wells, but one Irwin County couple who recently lost their water learned it had nothing to do with dry weather. A pair of copper thieves who cut off their pumps. It didn't take long for investigators to track them down.

Billy Hogan walked outside Thursday to check the well after he noticed he had no running water. Someone had cut the cables that supply water to his home and the business next store.

He thinks they drove in on this dirt road and ran through the bushes and cut the breaker to the power box before they cut the cable.

"I was just thinking thieves," said Hogan "From the road, you'd never know it was out here."

The thieves got away with almost $300 worth of copper wire which sells for about $4 a pound. It cost the home owner, Bill Lyles, almost $400 dollars to replace it. This isn't his first problem with copper wire thieves. He says they tore out his walls at a vacant rental mobile unit not too far away, stripping the house of more copper wire.

"It's very frustrating," said Lyles. "They say do something about it. I say I'm not a police man. I can't do anything about it."

Neighbors say deputies responded quickly. They pulled over 19-year-old Daniel Childress and Kenneth Stephenson at Logs to Lumber near Hogan's home on US 319 North. Lt. Ike Thomas says they were hauling a trailer full of scrap metal, and said they had taken wire from the well. The Irwin County Sheriff's Department is on the prowl for copper thieves since it's becoming a big problem.

"The citizens of Irwin County are really getting fed up and they're looking to us to step up,"said Lt. Thomas.

Both suspects have bonded out of jail. Deputies say one of them was already out on bond from marijuana charges in Tift County.

The Tift County District Attorney will set a date for their hearing. They face misdemeanor charges of theft by taking.