EUGENE, Ore. — A Eugene man is in jail after investigators say they caught him in the act of cutting cables to steal the copper.
The Lane County Sheriff’s Office says deputies arrested the suspect around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday on the 86,000 block of Bailey Hill Road.
People living nearby say they’re relieved to hear the news because the cut cables affect everyone.
Residents along that stretch of Bailey Hill Road know about the illegal activity around them because they’ve felt the impact.
“I have heard a lot of information in regards to people stealing copper from the wires,” said Eugene resident Summer Currie. “It really affects our cable and even calling the police if we need to.”
Currie says the crimes hit close to home.
“It was right across the street where it happened, so that can be very frightening for a family,” Currie said.
But looking at the cut utility cable now isn’t the same.
“Oh, I feel a lot safer,” Currie said.
When deputies arrived on scene to the call of possible wire theft, they found climbing gear and cutting equipment. After a short search, the sheriff’s office says deputies found John Wade Holeman hiding in bushes and arrested him. Sgt. Steve French says companies have been hurt because of these crimes and agrees with Currie about the affect on residents.
“The perpetrators are not getting a lot of money for the wire, but it’s causing a lot of damage to the utility companies,” French said. “Fortunately, these days a lot of people have cell phones. But for a lot of rural areas, they don’t have cell phone coverage in their areas, so land lines are an important part of the emergency process.”
“I feel a lot safer and relieved that they did catch the person and we can go on with our lives,” Currie said.
Holeman faces charges, including criminal mischief and theft. He faces prison time if convicted.
KEZI 9 News has reported on several recent copper thefts in the Dexter area. The sheriff’s office says it won’t comment on whether it thinks Holeman could be connected to those crimes.