East Hampton Police have arrested two local men accused of stealing copper ground wire from utility poles.
A resident called East Hampton police at 4:20 a.m. on Tuesday to report suspicious activity and police who responded found a discarded pair of wire cutters, a forehead mounted spotlight and about 20 pounds of copper ground wire stolen from poles on North Main Street and Clark Hill Road, police said.
On Tuesday morning, police arrested Michael Poe, 36, and Troy McIntosh, 28, both of East Hampton.
Copper theft has become more common because of its increasing value, police said. In July, hundreds of feet of underground cable were stripped from poles that lit East Hampton Middle School’s sports fields. The estimated value of the damage was $20,000 in that case.
Police said the theft of copper ground wire from utility poles poses dangers to people and buildings in the area because the lack of ground wire creates the risk of explosion and fire.
Poe and McIntosh were charged with third-degree larceny, third-degree conspiracy to commit larceny, second-degree criminal mischief and second-degree reckless endangerment. They were both held on $10,000 bonds, pending arraignment at Superior Court in Middletown on Tuesday.
East Hampton police thanked the person who contacted police about suspicious behavior.