Darlington copper theft investigation nets 5 arrests

Darlington, SC - DARLINGTON, SC (WMBF) - Five people have been arrested in connection to a series of copper wire thefts at electrical substations and power pole locations across Darlington County.

Capt. Andy Locklair, spokesman for the Darlington County Sheriff's Office, said seven cases of copper thefts have been reported across the county over the past four weeks. A handful of the thefts, he said, occurred at the electrical substations of two major power providers in Darlington County.

Investigators have arrested suspects in five of the seven cases, but officials say more arrests are forthcoming.

"This is a very dangerous way to make a few bucks," said Darlington County Sheriff Wayne Byrd. "This is also costing a great deal of money to fix what the thieves are damaging."

Investigators arrested Stanly Chisholm, 50, of Hartsville, last week and charged the man with two counts of grand larceny. Chisholm's charges, according to officials, stem from two of the seven copper theft cases being investigated.

Deputies say they have reason to believe Chisholm is connected to the cutting of copper wire from electrical poles along Indian Branch Road in Lydia. Approximately 220 to 250 feet of ground wire was cut from the poles in each case.

William Lee, 34, and John Lee, 37, both of Hartsville, were also arrested after investigators alleged they stole over $5,000 worth of copper wire from an electrical utility truck. The duo, according to deputies, attempted to sell the wire in Sumter County.

The illegal activity led investigators to charge both William and John Lee with two faces of grand larceny a piece.

A stakeout at a location in Hartsville also led to the arrest of Leon Bruce, 22, and his brother, Bruce Bruce. Both were charged with various charges in connection with the incident.

"It is not just copper that is stolen in some cases," Byrd said. "Any scrap metal they can get their hands on is going to the recyclers for a quick dollar."

Anyone with further information on copper thefts in Darlington is asked to contact the Darlington County Sheriff's Office immediately.

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