Orange woman 1 of 3 arrested in cable thefts

Published 12:18 am Tuesday, June 27, 2023

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NEDERLAND — Nederland Police Chief Gary Porter credits proactive patrol officers for the recent arrests of three people on charges of stealing AT&T cable.

On Wednesday police arrested Javier Mendez, 49, of Port Arthur in the 300 block of South 12th Street. The area is about a block from Twin City Highway, where cable had been cut.

Two days later Nederland police arrested Karla Kimmel, 42, of Orange and Joshua Johnson, 39, of Montgomery in the same general area, Porter said.

The three were charged with theft of material: aluminum/bronze/copper/brass, which is a felony.

Porter said investigators have no proof the three were working together or linked.

The police chief credited what he called proactive officers targeting metal thefts for the arrests.

Police estimated approximately 47 feet of cable in two sections totals $5,000.

While speaking in general, Porter said these types of thefts are a problem everywhere, with most are driven by methamphetamine addiction. Generally, assailants cut the cable and bring it to “unscrupulous scrap dealers” for money, he added.

The crime has become more prevalent in the past two to three years and numerous arrests have been made for such crimes.

The crime is not just in one city but scattered. In March, Port Neches police arrested two Orange County men who were allegedly in the process of stealing AT&T communication cable and a large amount of the cable was found in the suspect’s vehicle, police said.

Porter advises anyone who sees something suspicious around utility lines, especially late at night, to call police. He also asks if anyone sees someone in possession of big cable wire — approximately 2-inches diameter, to call as well and authorities will check it out.

Nederland Police Department’s non-emergency number is 409-722-4965.

As of Monday Kimmel and Johnson remained in the county jail. Mendez’s name was not on the jail roster.

— Written by Mary Meaux