Police bust alleged metal theft ring in Douglas County - KMSP-TV

Police bust alleged metal theft ring in Douglas County

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Authorities said they found a large of insulation and wire sheathing when they executed search warrants in Douglas County and Union City. Authorities said they found a large of insulation and wire sheathing when they executed search warrants in Douglas County and Union City.
DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ga. -

Police have arrested six people in Douglas County accused of stealing phone cables from AT&T.

Investigators believe that the crew was responsible for stealing up to 2 tons of metal worth $6,000 to $8,000. Authorities said they found a large of insulation and wire sheathing when they executed search warrants in Douglas County and Union City.

"They used deer stands to climb the poles and then wire cutters to cut the wires. They would cut anywhere from 100 feet to 600 feet at a time, take it to a place in Coweta County and strip it and melt the copper down, and then transport the copper or whatever metal it is to Cherokee, North Carolina and sell it up there," said Douglas County Sheriff Phil Miller.

AT&T's director of communications Lance Skelly said the thefts affected 911 communications, people being telemonitored for health issues and people that work from home.

"So when these lines are cut, it's not just people losing their telephone services or internet service, it's people literally losing their lifeline," said Skelly.

AT&T officials said that crews are making around 12 repairs a day. They said the company has a $3,000 reward for information leading to arrests in wire thefts.

Authorities said that tips led them to the alleged metal theft ring, which included four men and two women. It is believed they took the wiring out of state because of Georgia's tough laws regarding recycling centers.

Investigators are looking to see if the group may have also hit at a gated complex in Hampton, Ga. Residents said their complex has been hit at least six times in the last year.  The latest theft occurred on Friday, knocking out phone lines for several days.

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