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Schuylkill County Police News

2 More Arrested in Verizon Copper Cable Theft Case

Another couple allegedly involved in the steal-and-scrap scheme.

It appears the two people arrested recently for stealing Verizon phone cable from various locations around Schuylkill County allegedly had accomplices.

According to court papers filed earlier this week, police are now charging two more people for their alleged participation in this scheme.

On Jan. 2, Schuylkill Township Patrolman Doug Litwhiler filed charges against Eric Payne, 47, and Karrie Kerestus, 48, both of New Ringgold, for their role in helping two others 58-year-old Daniel Hall and 44-year-old Stephanie Keck, allegedly steal more than $10,000 worth of phone cable owned by Verizon right off utility poles.

During the investigation of Hall and Keck, Litwhiler says he learned that some of the wire they were stealing was being stored at Payne and Kerestus’ home in New Ringgold.

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In an incident that reportedly happened in Schuylkill Twp., Litwhiler says in his affidavit that Payne and Hall were driven in a U-Haul box van to a location along Old Route 209 in Tuscarora by their lady friends, Keck and Kerestus.

The women would reportedly come back for Payne and Hall later on but in the meantime, the two men would use grinders and chop saws to remove 310 feet of Verizon copper cable from a utility pole.

Once they had the wire down and in the van, they all drove to a location in Delano Twp. where they burned the casings off it.

In this particular instance, the remaining wire was taken to EMR Scrap Yard in Hazle Twp., Luzerne County. The investigation also revealed that stolen wire was being scrapped at JW Zaprazny Inc., New Ringgold.

On Dec. 29, Litwhiler says he received a written statement from Hall and Keck that wire they stole was being stored at Payne and Kerestus’ home in New Ringgold. West Penn Twp. police then got a search warrant and went to their home on Hughes St., where burnt wire casing consistent with Verizon cable was discovered.

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Money they got from scrapping this wire was allegedly split among the four people.

Payne and Kerestus were each charged with felony counts of disruption of service, theft, theft of secondary metal, receiving stolen property, and criminal mischief.

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