Two Randolph County men who allegedly broke into the AES Laurel Mountain Windmills property in Barbour County and stole copper ground leads are facing various felony and misdemeanor charges.
Gary E. Kidd, 44, of 12 Gilmore St. in Elkins, is charged with the felonies of destruction of property, conspiracy, and two counts of breaking and entering, and misdemeanors of destruction of property, petit larceny and receiving or transferring stolen property.
James R. Arbogast, 46, of 146 Gilmore St. in Elkins, also faces felony charges of destruction of property, conspiracy, and two counts of breaking and entering, and misdemeanors of petit larceny and destruction of property.
According to the criminal complaints filed last week in Barbour County Magistrate Court, Kidd and Arbogast broke or cut open the pad lock securing a road gate onto the windmill property on Laurel Mountain on May 16. Then, Kidd, with Arbogast riding along, drove his red and gray Ford pickup truck into the AES Laurel Mountain Windmill property, the complaint states.
Barbour County Deputy Sheriff J.C. Casey wrote in the criminal complaint that Kidd and Arbogast cut 18 copper ground leads going from electrical equipment to the ground around the power substation owned and operated by AES Laurel Mountain LLC. In an estimate received by AES Laurel Mountain, LLC, the 18 copper leads are valued at $1,500.
The complaint states that while on the property of AES Laurel Mountain, the men broke or cut another padlock securing a fenced in area around the power substation, owned by First Energy. After crossing through, they used a tool to cut 36 copper ground leads going from electrical equipment into the ground, according to the complaints.
Kidd and Arbogast then loaded each braided copper lead that was approximately three-quarters of an inch across, ranging from 2 feet to 4 feet in length and weighing about 2 pounds, into the back of Kidd's Ford pickup truck, the complaint states.
First Energy provided officials an estimate for the repair from damages. The 36 copper leads are valued at $3,000, while other stolen property was estimated to be worth $450.50.
Police say that on the morning of May 17, Kidd sold 122 pounds of the stolen copper to Hilltop Recycling LLC for $311.10.
Following Miranda statements, Kidd and Arbogast indicated to officials that they discussed going to the windmill range and making "easy money" by taking the copper prior to committing the crimes, the complaint states.