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Posted: 3:52 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013
BURKE COUNTY, N.C. —
For four months, deputies have been searching for the people breaking into power substations across Burke County.
Now, they said the couple responsible is in custody.
Investigators said they caught the couple trying to sell some of the stolen copper to a scrap yard.
Ashley Dalton fought back tears as she described going to the substations where the copper was repeatedly stolen.
"I didn't get out of the car,” she said. “I was stuck in the car."
For months, deputies have stepped up patrols across the county trying to determine who was responsible.
“They get maybe $100 for what they were taking out of a substation but causing thousands and thousands of dollars in damage,” Sheriff Steve Whisenant said.
Whisenant credits extra patrols and working closely with local scrap yards to identify Dalton and her boyfriend, Michael Wright, as suspects in the case.
Wright denied being responsible, but investigators said just two hours after a recent break-in, the couple was found at a scrap yard trying to sell stolen copper from the substation.
Dalton said she was forced to go along with his plans.
“I don't know how he got it, how he done it,” she said. “I was stuck in the car. When you are made to drive someone somewhere, there is nothing else you can do about it. "
The sheriff said his investigators are already in contact with three other counties in the area about the couple. Those counties are working similar cases.
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