Natchez duo charged with stealing copper wire, causing phone outages

Published 8:32 am Monday, October 2, 2023

A phone service outage led to the arrest of two Natchez men suspected of causing $42,000 worth of damage and numerous phone outages over the past nine months.

According to information from Sheriff Travis Patten, Adams County deputies were notified around 1:10 a.m. Sept. 26 by AT&T that the phone lines near Powlett Road were down, likely from an effort to strip copper wire.

Deputies also received information the stolen wire was located near 505 North Palestine Road.

Email newsletter signup

“Upon arrival deputies made contact with William Cade Farmer 505 N. Palestine Road, and Rickey A. Nelson 404 Morgantown Road,” Patten said. “Both of the subjects were in possession of a large amount of 600 strand AT&T phone wire. Rickey and William were in the process of stripping the wire and preparing it to be scrapped.”

Investigators determined nearly 400 feet of 600 strand AT&T copper wire was cut down near Powlett Road and Highway 61 North.

“This has been and ongoing problem over the past several months causing over $42,000 in damage since January 2023 to the phone lines and interruption of service to residents and the airport,” Patten said.

The men were arrested and charged with grand larceny. Bond was set at $5,000, and Patten said additional charges are pending.