STEUBENVILLE - Two men were charged by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department with cutting telephone wires.
Vernon J. Jackson, 28, of 246 Lincoln Ave., Mingo Junction, was arrested by the sheriff's department on Thursday. The second suspect, James A. Roe, 29, of 415 Logan Ave., Mingo Junction, who already was in the county jail on a probation violation, also was served warrants in connection with the telephone wire thefts.
County Sheriff Fred Abdalla said both men were charged with complicity to theft and disrupting public service.
The men were arrested two weeks ago and questioned about the telephone wire thefts. Jackson was released at the time for lack of evidence. Roe was placed in the county jail on the probation violation out of common pleas court.
Roe was on probation after pleading guilty a year ago to taking about 1,000 feet of telephone cable in November 2009 in the Toronto-Empire area. He was sentenced to six months in the Eastern Ohio Correction Center and placed on 18 months of probation.
Jackson was sentenced to one year in prison in 2008 after pleading guilty to stealing telephone wire in the Montwell Drive area of Mingo Junction.
Abdalla said the sheriff's department now has enough evidence on the men in connection with the telephone wire theft. He wouldn't elaborate on what evidence has been collected.
AT&T told the sheriff's department about 1,300 feet of telephone wire has been stolen in the Steubenville-Mingo Junction area in the past several weeks. Abdalla said the company has reported it costs $13,000 a foot to replace the telephone wire. He said the value of the wire taken is more than $1 million.
Abdalla said cutting the telephone wires can lead to serious consequences for the public. He said people who don't have a cell phone and need to call for emergency help are in danger when the telephone lines are cut.