January 17th, 2021

Copper theft charges dropped

By Shurtz, Delon on March 23, 2020.

Delon Shurtz

lethbridge herald


Criminal charges against a man who was accused of breaking into a City electrical substation with his son last spring have been withdrawn.

Charges of shopbreaking and commit mischief, shopbreaking and commit theft, possession of stolen property under $5,000 and possession of ID documents, against David Bradley Priest were withdrawn Friday in Lethbridge provincial court after the judge was told the accused had recently died.

In addition to those charges, which his son Travis Priest still faces, unrelated charges of theft under $5,000 and breach of release conditions were also withdrawn.

The shopbreaking charges stem from an incident April 28 when two men broke into an electrical substation in the 3500 block of 25 Street West by cutting the lock on a gate. They damaged the lock on the entry door, and once inside damaged a significant amount of equipment to get at the copper wire inside.

Spools of copper wire and various pieces of equipment, including a laser level, network connector and battery charge pack, were stolen, and a transformer worth $250,000 and a grounding cart unit worth $25,000 were damaged. Damages total $300,000, while the stolen copper and equipment are worth $6,500.

The following day police responded to a report of suspicious activity at a home in the 2700 block of 7 Avenue North after people were seen transferring copper wire from a vehicle into a garage. Police later searched the property and recovered stolen property, including some items from the substation.

The father and son pleaded not guilty to the shared charges on Nov. 22, but earlier this month court was told their lawyers had received a resolution proposal from the Crown, which could avoid a trial, and the matter was adjourned to March 30.

Travis Priest is still scheduled to appear in court on his charges that day.

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