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Schuylkill County Police News

Schuylkill County Couple Facing Multiple Felonies in Verizon Cable Thefts Case

Details released on the joint investigation that took them down.

A homeless Schuylkill County couple is facing multiple felonies accused of stealing Verizon phone cable from utility poles and selling them for scrap.

A Schuylkill County couple is facing numerous felony charges, accused of stealing Verizon phone line right off the utility poles from several locations around the area.

On Tuesday, new felony charges were filed against Daniel Hall, 58, and Stephanie Keck, 44, both referred to by police as homeless, in the court of District Magistrate David Plachko by police in Schuylkill Township.

Both Hall and Keck were previously arrested on similar charges from an incident in West Penn Twp.

Their arrests were the result of a joint investigation between West Penn Twp. Police Chief James Bonner and Schuylkill Twp. Patrolman Doug Litwhiler.

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Police say Hall and Keck used a U-Haul truck that was allegedly rented for them but never returned to pull off their ambitious heists.

Keck reportedly told police that she’d drop Hall off at a location to snag the Verizon cables and then return to put them in the truck. They burned the cable and scrapped the copper wire at locations in Schuylkill and Luzerne counties.

The duo was reportedly done in by a Harbor Freight receipt apparently dropped at the scene of one of the alleged thefts.

“Chief Bonner and Officer Litwhiler worked around the clock to make sure these thieves were brought to justice and taken off the streets before more communications were cut off. Without phone service some elderly residents could have really been in trouble during a medical emergency,” Schuylkill Twp. Police Chief Frank Dimarco says in a release issued to The Canary.

He added, “I commend these officers for their hard work and dedication to bringing these individuals to justice.”

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TIMELINE: Verizon Cable Theft Investigation in Schuylkill County

Here is a timeline of the joint investigation between West Penn and Schuylkill townships’ police departments that led to the arrests of Hall and Keck:

December 6

Litwhiler says he was contacted by Verizon employee John Crispo that sometime between 12 p.m. on Dec. 5 and 8 a.m. on Dec. 6 that someone had cut and stolen about 310 feet of Verizon phone cable along Old Route 209.

At the scene there, Litwhiler says he noticed the phone line had been cut from one pole to another with what looked like a saw or grinder.

December 11

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West Penn Twp. Police is contacted by Verizon employee John Crispo regarding phone cable that had been cut and removed in the 3100 block of Route 895 (aka Summer Valley Rd.).

December 12

Bonner went to Summer Valley Rd. and noted that the cables had been cut by some type of grinder or saw and about 200 feet of cable was missing.

The West Penn Chief also learned of a similar incident in Foster Twp. At that scene, Foster Twp. PD said they found a Harbor Freight receipt at the scene of the alleged theft and that receipt could be connected to Hall.

Bonner contacted Harbor Freight and got a Barnesville address for Hall.

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December 13

On this date, Hall is alleged to have scrapped 21 pounds of copper wire at JW Zaprazny Inc., New Ringgold, and received $58.90. Zaprazny told police that Hall was with Keck who also scrapped copper wire the same day. Police learned they were driving a U-Haul box van.

December 11-14

Hall reportedly scrapped 292 pounds of copper wire at EMR Scrap, Hazle Twp., Luzerne County, according to a tip provided on or around the 21st by Verizon corporate security officer Emblez Longoria.

Litwhiler and Bonner say they visited EMR to confirm that Hall and Keck had scrapped the phone line there.

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Bonner says in his affidavit that he also received a tip that Hall was burning the allegedly stolen wire on a power line road in Delano Twp. Bonner responded to that area and says he found burned plastic and metal sheeting, consistent with what would be found with phone cable. Litwhiler was also present at the scene of the burned wire in Delano.

December 21

Bonner files felony charges of theft, receiving stolen property, and criminal mischief against Hall and Keck before District Magistrate Stephen Bayer.

Before filing charges against the duo, Bonner says he got a tip that Hall had just scrapped copper wire at Zaprazny and had recently left the business, with Keck, driving that U-Haul van on Route 309.

Bonner says he knew Hall’s driver’s license was suspended and that Keck had multiple warrants for her arrest. He eventually located the vehicle driving on Route 309 and he initiated a traffic stop.

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Litwhiler joined Bonner at the scene of this traffic stop.

Hall exited the vehicle at Bonner’s command and was read his Miranda rights. He declined to speak to Bonner, the chief says in his arrest papers.

Keck, however, apparently did talk to Bonner after being read her rights and declining to lawyer up.

According to Bonner’s statement, Keck admitted to stealing the phone wire with Hall for about a month.

Keck reportedly explained that she’d drive the box van to a location and Hall would get out and she drove away for a short time. She’d later come back and pick up Hall with the phone cable.  

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This scheme was cooked up between she and Hall, Keck reportedly explained to Bonner. They apparently spent the money they made scrapping the wire on drugs, alcohol, and hotel rooms.

She also explained that the U-Haul van was allegedly rented by a cousin’s boyfriend but they kept the van about a month longer than the rental agreement allowed.

Defendant Keck stated that the U-Haul truck was rented for her and Dan Hall by her

During a search of the U-Haul van, Bonner noticed, in addition to drugs and drug paraphernalia and other items, several pairs of work gloves, a nigh-vision scope, wire cutting tools, a reciprocating saw, and grinder blades.

Bonner also found wire consistent with Verizon phone cable, more cutters, a propane torch, gas cans, and a rake “with burnt black plastic on the tines”, a cable cutter, and other items in the back of the van.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Chris

    December 28, 2023 at 6:05 am

    I hope the scrap metal businesses are contacting the authorities right away when they get suspicious drop-offs like copper wire. Making copy of DL# good idea.

    • Canary Commenter

      December 28, 2023 at 9:35 am

      Seems like the scrap places had all the info the police needed in this case. They likely don’t want to get implicated in a receiving stolen property charge, especially these days with so many cases of stolen metals.

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