The Darlington County Sheriff's Office says they've investigated seven cases of copper theft in the past four weeks. They've made arrests in five of those cases and say more arrests are coming.
Some of the thefts were at electrical substations belonging to the two major electrical providers for Darlington County residents. So far no one has been injured, but officials are concerned someone will if a wrong wire is cut. "This is a very dangerous way to try and make a few bucks. This is also costing a great deal of money to fix what the thieves are damaging," said Sheriff Wayne Byrd.
Last week investigators arrested Stanly Chisholm, 50, of Hartsville. He's charged with two count of Grand Larceny in two of the seven cases this month. More arrests are expected. Investigators say about 220 to 250 feet of copper ground wire was cut from poles on Indian Branch Rd near Lydia. The wire was recovered.
Investigators say William Lee, 34, and John Lee, 37, both of Hartsville, stole more than $5,000 worth of copper wire from a electrical utility truck on Deer Run Drive in Hartsville on June 1 and tried to sell the wire in Sumter County. The two face charges of grand larceny.
The sheriff's office says they've been staking out locations where the thefts have occurred. They say surveillance at a location on Center Road in Hartsville lead to the arrest of Leon Bruce, 22, of Society Hill. They say the suspect's brother, Bruce Bruce, was arrested as well. Both face various charges.
"It is not just copper that is stolen in some cases. Any scrap metal they can get their hands on is going to the recyclers for a quick dollar. If it is not your scrap metal, then it's stealing," said Sheriff Byrd.
If you have any information about these cases or any others please call the Darlington County Sheriff's Office, Crime Stoppers, or your local law enforcement.