Three persons have been arrested in connection with a break-in and theft of copper wire from the North Arkansas Electric Cooperative (NAEC) sub-station on State Highway 201 North of Mountain Home.
The Sheriff’s Office received a report from NAEC on September 28th concerning the theft. NAEC had video surveillance of the break-in occurring at approximately 2:18 AM on the morning of September 28th. The chain on the gate to the facility had been cut. One roll of wire was missing, and another roll of wire was outside the gate as if someone would return to get it. Video footage revealed three suspects getting the spools of wire and a van coming in to pick up the suspects, who then left. The wire was valued at approximately $1,900.
Sheriff’s Investigator Lt. Terry Johnson notified area scrap metal recyclers of the theft. On September 30th, the Sheriff’s Office received information from a local recycling center that approximately 65 pounds of copper wire had been brought in. Lt. Johnson went to the business. NATHANIEL CAMPBELL, 36 years of age, was identified as the person who brought he wire in. Also, the van that was driven to the recycling center matched the description of the van seen on NAEC video footage.
Based upon these developments, the Sheriff’s Office obtained a warrant to search the residence of NATHANIEL CAMPBELL in Norfork. During the course of the search, investigators found left over pieces of wire in the van, as well as the bolt cutters and a plastic tote used to haul the wire to the recycling business. CAMPBELL admitted to the theft of the wire. During the further course of the investigation, two additional suspects were identified by name. A fourth suspect remains unidentified at this time. CAMPBELL told investigators that the wire had been divided up equally between the four of them.
The two additional known suspects were located later in the day and brought to the Sheriff’s Office. They were identified as 33 year old TESSA COLLEEN EBERSOLD of rural Mountain Home and 26 year old COLMAN McNEELY of rural Mountain Home. Both of these suspects also admitted to investigators their respective parts in the crime.
NATHANIEL CAMPBELL, TESSA EBERSOLD, AND COLMAN McNEELY were all booked into the Baxter County Detention Center, each with the same charges of:
Breaking or Entering – Felony
Theft of Property – Felony
Damaging wire and other fixtures of telephone, cable, and power companies – Felony
Each of the three was released from custody after posting $25,000 bond apiece. They will appear in the Circuit Court to answer on October 22nd.
Investigators are still working to determine the identity of the fourth suspect, and an additional arrest in the incident is expected.
/s/ John F. Montgomery,
Baxter County Sheriff