A police task force made up of officers from several departments arrested a Bristol Township man and a Falls woman in connection with the theft of copper from a PECO substation.
Jamie Lynn Brown and Jason Pallis, both 29, were apprehended by authorities and are accused of stealing copper wiring from Middletown’s Durham substation on Oxford Valley Road in November, according to court records filed last week.
Police said the duo cut a hole in fence at the substation with bolt cutters and stole the copper ground wire.
Between the property damage and missing copper, PECO took a hit of $7,000, authorities said.
Copper ground wire is used to protect life and safeguard power grid by acting as a safe path for excess electricity to disperse. It is used because it conducts electric currents better than most other metals. Middletown police said in the affidavit filed that the theft caused risk to death or serious injury to PECO employees.
When a Bristol Township police officer interviewed Brown and Pallis, the two confessed to committing several copper thefts from PECO grounds, including the Durham substation incident, police said.
The two told investigators they used a cell phones to communicate if police were coming and to arrange a rendezvous point, an affidavit said.
Police said Brown and Pallis told them they sold the copper to a scrapyard in Philadelphia.
The two were arraigned Thursday on charges of criminal trespassing, theft, criminal mischief, reckless endangering another person and other offenses related to the thefts.
District Judge John Kelly Jr. released them on $25,000 unsecured bail, court records show.
The task force police set up was comprised of departments who were dealing with similar copper thefts.
In November, Michael Gerretz, 23, of Bristol Township, was arrested when him and another man who evaded police were seen stealing copper from the PECO facility 7100 block of Mill Creek Road in Bristol Township.
A low-flying Philadelphia Police helicopter was used by the task force in December after thieves were spotted at a Bristol Township PECO facility, a police source says.
Police have been tight-lipped on the task force and the investigation into the thefts, which have cost PECO more than $60,000 in the past few months.
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