Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

September 26, 2013

MW unsubs steal power, paint cars


Mineral Wells Index

— By CLINT FOSTER



People can tend to have a creative way of becoming resourceful, sometimes going to dangerous and even law-breaking lengths to get what they want or need.

This past week, one unknown suspect is likely lucky to be alive after attempting to steal electricity. On Sept. 17 around 11:30 a.m., the Mineral Wells Police Department arrived on the scene in the 1100 block of S.W. 29th Street to meet a representative from Oncor Electric Delivery’s local distribution division. Police said the representative pointed out someone had tried to bypass the nearby electric meter by attaching a standard extension cord – approximately 100 feet long – from the house directly to the power line. Officials believe the connection was made sometime between Sept. 12, around 8 a.m., and Sept. 17, when police arrived.

Police said it appeared whoever attached the cord had climbed up a nearby tree to do so, because the cord ran down the length of a tree from the high wire. Police added the cord was well-hidden with debris as it made its way along the ground.

Oncor Area Manager Ken Harriss said the company’s revenue security team investigates situations like these in reference to tampering or theft of electricity.

“We take all these situations very seriously,” he said. “They pose a safety risk; not only to the individual but also those receiving the power from that particular line. We work well with our local officials to investigate each of these cases.”

Since there was significant damage to the power line, in this case, the unknown suspect now carries an offense of criminal mischief between $50 and $500 in addition to theft of services between $500 and $1,500. If the suspect was even able to survive direct contact with a major power line while holding a household extension cord, this incident is reminiscent of the words of country singer Roger Alan Wade, “If you’re gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough.”

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On another side of town, later in the week, it would appear more unknown suspects were making questionable decisions in their spare time.

Police report sometime during the night on Sept. 21 or the early morning hours of Sept. 22, three cars were the victims of what appears to be a drive-by spray painting. Police have reason to believe the three incidents are connected, as all three vehicles were covered by black spray paint in no discernable pattern or shape. Also two of the vehicles were in the same immediate area: a Jeep Wrangler in the 1000 block of S.E. 18th Street, a Ford F-150 in the 1900 block of S.E. 11th Avenue. The third vehicle was a Chevrolet 1500 pickup in the 500 block of N.W. 3rd Street.

All three incidents are criminal mischief or graffiti offenses with damages in the neighborhood of $500 to $20,000. Police believe the suspect or suspects were probably young kids.