Police nab 3 suspected copper thieves

July 9, 2008 11:26:29 AM PDT
Telephones lines were targeted for their copper. Now the alleged thieves, responsible for terrorizing AT&T customers in Acres Homes, are off the streets.It was back in May that Eyewitness News first told you about the copper thefts in Acres Homes. It was a crime that knocked out phone service to at least 1,000 people and cost the phone company thousands of dollars in repairs.

Ray Lewis, Ashton Wilson and Jermaine Amerson were picked up and charged with felony theft and criminal mischief. Investigators say Lewis and Wilson were paid to take the copper taken from the AT&T telephone lines that were stolen from the Acres Homes area to the scrap metal yards.

They had presented their ID's at the yards, which were recorded and tracked. The ringleaders avoided making those transactions, hoping to keep their identities hidden.

There have been at least six incidents since December and each case was carried out in the same manner.

"They climb up the poles and take out the wire," said Sgt. Andrew Sanchez with the Houston Police Department. "Actually, that is what Ashton Wilson was in the process of, taking the wire, and a witness stopped him prior to actually taking the wire and we filed a felony criminal mischief on him."

Police say Amerson and Gilberto Corona are the ringleaders of the group. Corona remains on the loose. There is a reward for his arrest and conviction. Authorities believe he is in the Houston area with possibly his girlfriend.

If you have any information on the suspect, you are asked to call authorities.

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