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January 28, 2013

Indictment returned in cell phone tower theft

GREENVILLE — A Collin County man has been indicted on a felony theft charge for allegedly stealing copper from a cell phone tower last month.

Kerry Patrick Nehl, 27, of Melissa, was taken into custody by deputies with the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office after a manhunt which involved a Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter.

The Hunt County grand jury indicted Nehl Friday, as it began its six-moth term of serving up charges in felony cases for consideration by the 196th District Court. The panel handed up 53 indictments Friday, including 15 charges issued sealed pending the arrest and arraignment of the persons named in the indictments.

The grand jury also indicted a local man in connection with an alleged armed robbery and indicted two men for allegedly breaking into a Quinlan Independent School District building and stealing a car.

— Nehl received one indictment for theft of property of the value of less than $20,000.

Hunt County Sheriff Randy Meeks said his office received a call about a possible theft in progress at the AT&T cell phone tower on U.S. Highway 380 west of Greenville early on the morning of Dec. 9, 2012.

Meeks said the sheriff’s dispatch was advised by the company that there appeared to be one male suspect pulling wire from the tower. Upon arrival, deputies discovered the lock to the tower location had been cut. A search of the area nearby was conducted with the assistance of a DPS helicopter, leading to Nehl being found hiding in an area of heavy brush. Meeks said deputies discovered two copper bus bars that had been removed from the cell phone tower.

— Jonathan Wayne Fields, 21, of Greenville, was indicted on one count of aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon. Fields was alleged in the indictment to have used a pipe to attack a male victim while in the course of committing theft on Dec. 17, 2012.

— Chance Dakota Jeffcoat, 22, and Thomas Jake Payne, 22, each received one indictment for burglary of a building and one indictment for unauthorized use of a vehicle. Jeffcoat and Payne, both of Quinlan, were alleged in the indictments to have broken into a Quinlan ISD building on Sept. 29, 2012 and to have stolen a 2012 Ford Fusion; as well as tools, keys, a radiator, copper and other items.

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