1 of 3 sentenced for electrical line theft

(The suspects in the copper wire theft. Left to right: Cameron Smith, Dustin Wesche and Troy Petersen. Feb. 16, 2015)

PAW PAW, Mich. (WOOD) — One of three men accused of stealing live electrical lines near Grand Junction in February has been sentenced.

Dustin Wesche was sentenced on Monday to an alternative work crew for 92 days, with credit for one day served.

Authorities say Wesche, Cameron Smith and Troy Peterson cut down several hundred feet of live Consumers Energy electrical lines that ran along CR-388 in Columbia Township on Feb. 12. According to court documents, Smith admitted the trio was out to steal telephone lines to strip them for copper to scrap and only took the electrical lines because they were damaged in the process.

Consumers Energy discovered the theft after it was notified of a power outage in Grand Junction. Several customers were without power for about four hours. The utility company said monetary damages totaled more than $3,100.

The three were identified after police released surveillance photos of them from a gas station convenience store near the scene of the theft. In fact, Smith contacted 24 Hour News 8 directly and said the whole thing was a misunderstanding — a story he later changed.

Wesche and Smith surrendered themselves to authorities in March, shortly after larceny charges were filed against them.

Peterson, who has previous copper theft conviction, was not arrested until April. Authorities said he then tried to take his own life by asphyxiating himself with a telephone cord at a Kent County courthouse. He survived.

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