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Foxboro man charged in phone wire thefts

A Foxboro man Was arrested and waived a preliminary hearing last month in connection with stealing telephone wire three times from the same spot in the town of Amnicon, silencing landline phones and computers in the area.

Tyler Lee Mains, 32, faces one count of felony criminal damage to property and three misdemeanor theft charges in Douglas County Circuit Court stemming from incidents that took place in August. Cash bail was set at $750. His next court appearance is slated for November.

According to the criminal complaint:

Live telephone wire was cut and removed from the corner of County Highway E and Munnings Road on Aug. 6, 8 and 15. Russell Cook of CenturyLink Corp. said the cost to repair the damage and reconnect phone service would be in excess of $10,000.

When questioned by Deputy Jeff Bethards, Mains admitted the he and two other males cut the wire from telephone poles and took it to another location to burn off the plastic casing before selling it to a Superior business. He stated they sold three batches of copper wire for about $334.

If convicted, he faces up to 3½ years imprisonment on the felony charge and nine months imprisonment on each theft charge.

No charges have been filed against the men Mains said helped him, according to court records.

The repeated cutting of the telephone wires left about 50 homes without phone or internet service for about 12 hours each time, Cook said in an August interview. He indicated half a dozen thefts had occurred in that area from January to August. He said the business planned to bury a two-mile stretch of telephone wire to discourage further thefts. The project cost was estimated at $50,000.

A photo captured with a trail camera during one of the incidents helped lead to the identification of a suspect, according to the Douglas County Sheriff's Office. The picture was shared online through the department's Facebook page.