1 copper thief sentenced, power out due to another

ASHDOWN (AP) - A homeless man accused of stealing $200,000 worth of copper wire in southwest Arkansas has been sentenced to probation while three other defendants await court proceedings.

Circuit Judge Charles Yeargan gave 46-year-old Michael Kuester five years of probation and ordered that he pay restitution to Ash Grove Cement in Ashdown. The amount will be set later.

The Texarkana Gazette reports two other defendants are to appear in court Tuesday and a third has a July court appearance set.

On Thursday in nearby Nash, Texas, almost 2,000 utility customers were left in the dark when thieves cut wire from an electric substation owned by Southwestern Electric Power Co.

Authorities say it is becoming more common for thieves to cut substation fencing to steal copper, despite the risk of electrocution.

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