Police thwart attempted $8K theft of utility wire in Orange

Published 12:11 pm Tuesday, February 15, 2022

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Stolen communications cabling theft from utility poles continues to be a problem in Greater Orange, authorities said.

The latest case, Orange Police said, took place Saturday when officers responded to a report of a man stealing telephone cable from the utility poles near the intersection of Meeks Drive and Allie Payne Road.

Capt. Keith Longlois said arriving officers found Clifford Byron Stephenson, 42, running from the area.

“Further investigation led to Stephenson being arrested and charged with felony theft based on the value of the cable stolen and felony criminal mischief for causing damage that disrupted a public utility,” Longlois said in a news release.

Police said an AT&T representative valued a span of the telephone cable stretching from utility pole to utility pole at $2,000.

According to Longlois, this theft involved two spans of cable that stretched three utility poles, putting the theft at a potential $8,000 haul.

The cables involved were active and provided telephone and internet service to homes in the area, police said.

The theft of communications cabling from utility poles has been an ongoing problem in the Greater Orange Area, an Orange Police release said.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office jail record did not list Stephenson as in custody as of Tuesday morning.