BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Three people have been arrested and charged with 25 counts of grand theft after police say they participated in a wire stealing scheme that began after Hurricane Michael.
According to the Bay County Sheriff’s Office, cousins Michael and David Vickers, both of Panama City and Sandra McKay of Fountain began to pick up AT&T wire to process it, reduce it to copper wire and scrap it for cash. After collecting all the downed wire, investigators say they stole wire off power poles.
AT&T began filing complaints with the sheriff’s office in June. The sheriff’s office says AT&T barely had time to replace the wire, including spools that were left for work crews to hang, before it was stolen again.
Investigators put up cameras near an area where wire was frequently being stolen and caught one of the thefts on video. Michael Vickers was identified on one of the videos, and David Vickers and McKay were later identified as suspects too.
During a traffic stop with McKay and David Vickers, wire was found inside the vehicle and a bag of meth fell from McKay’s shirt.
Investigators say all three admitted to their involvement in the scheme to steal the wire, process it, and sell it for scrap in Alabama and locally.
In addition to the grand theft charges, McKay is also charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.