HAZARD – A second person in as many weeks has pleaded guilty to stealing power and fiber optic cables from a utility company in Perry County.
Preston Halcomb, Jr., 32, of Letcher, was one of two people arrested in May by state police in Letcher County on charges that he was involved in a string of copper thefts in Perry and Letcher Counties. Halcomb was charged alongside 54-year-old James D. Warren, of Pineville, after more than two tons of copper were taken to sale at a scrap yard in Letcher County, police said.
A third person, David J. Bowling, 35, of Cornettsville, was indicted in June in Perry County along with Halcomb and Warren, each on charges of theft by unlawful taking over $10,000, a Class C felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Halcomb pleaded guilty on Thursday in exchange for a sentence of three years of supervised probation, the conditions of which include 300 hours of community service and the truthful testimony in the case against James Warren. Restitution to Windstream Communications was noted as $47,233, though the official amount will not be set until the time of sentencing in December.
If Halcomb is unable to abide by the conditions of his probation, he could serve a five-year prison sentence.
Bowling was in Perry Circuit Court last week where he pleaded guilty in exchange for the same sentence. Both are scheduled for formal sentencing on December 15.
Warren is the remaining defendant in the case, but Commonwealth’s Attorney Teresa Reed noted that authorities have been unable to locate him since he was released from jail on bond.
Warren’s bond was initially set at $40,000 following his indictment. But according to Reed, Warren was evaluated by pretrial services, as per the new corrections law approved by the state legislature earlier this year, as a low risk for flight and released on a surety bond. He hasn’t been heard from since, she said.