A guilty verdict was handed down last week in the 7th Judicial District Court in Pioche in the 2013 Highland Peak transmission line wire theft case.
County District Attorney Daniel Hooge said the jury of eight women and four men only needed about two hours to deliberate following three days of testimony.
Cindy Johnson, 49, of Littlefield, Arizona was convicted of stealing about 3,600 feet of wife from power lines going up Highland Peak in December 2013. The lines powered a couple of cell phone towers, as well as being the main local site for radio repeaters for the U.S. Air Force, Lincoln County and other state users.
Johnson’s husband, Brook, had also been arrested in the case, but Hooge said he died of a cancer related illness before going to trial.
Lincoln County Power District #1 manager Dave Luttrell was quoted at the time as saying the theft was, “A brazen, knowledgeable attack on the power line. They knew what they were doing. They went after an energized power line and that ups the game right there.”
Lincoln County Sheriff’s deputies, with assistance from officers of the Mohave County, Arizona Sheriff’s department, worked the case and were able to serve arrest warrants on the Johnson’s Dec. 19.
Suspecting the Johnson’s might try to sell the wire to recycling yards, law enforcement officials made it known to those businesses what to be on the lookout for. A break in the case came when one of the recycling yards contacted reported they had purchased a large amount of copper wire that matched the description of the Highland Peak lines. Luttrell said what was noticeable was that the Highland Peak wire had been put there in the 1930’s, “much is different from the wire we use today, easy to identify. We don’t use that kind of wire anymore.”
Damage caused by the theft amounted to 12 power poles either cut down or broken, and about $35,000 in repair costs.
Asked why the case had taken so long to come to trial, Hooge said, “We had to check on the possibility of an inside man from the power district, but there was not. It took a while to sort all that out.”
Sentencing has been set for July 8, and Hooge said it could be as much as six years in prison.
Johnson has been released on her own recognizance.