Copper thieves cause power outages in Iowa


Whitney Reynek and Craig Keller, Photos Courtesy of VINELink

ONAWA, Iowa (KCAU) — Two people were arrested over the weekend in Monona County after authorities were told that copper was stolen at electrical substations.

Authorities received reports of fires at electrical sub-stations in the western half of Monona County Saturday around 8:14 p.m. The fires caused power outages in the area that night. The energy providers determined that someone entered the electrical substations and removed copper from grounding tools, with the estimated cost of damages and repairs reaching hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Deputies with the Monona County Sheriff’s Office were given information about possible suspects on Sunday. Authorities subsequently executed a search warrant at a rural Whiting residence and found items taken from the substations as well as two other burglaries in the county. The two, Craig Keller, 40, of Onawa, and Whitney Reynek, 30, of Tekamah, Nebraska, were arrested.

Keller and Reynek were both charged with first-degree theft, first-degree criminal mischief, third-degree burglary, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Keller was also arrested on warrants. His bond has been set at $21,000. Reynek was booked with a $10,000 bond.

The incident is still under an ongoing investigation. They said more charges may be filed in the future.

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