Three charged in metal thefts at Consumers Energy substations - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Three charged in metal thefts at Consumers Energy substations

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FLINT (WJRT) -

(10/20/11) - Three people, all from Flint, are accused of at least 20 metal thefts in less than 30 days. 

The victims? Consumers Energy and the company's nearly 25,000 customers who lost power because of those thefts.

Genesys Health System had service interrupted as well and had to go to back up power.

Consumers Energy is said to be out as much as $100,000 dollars because of them.

Investigators believe Rickey Barnette cut holes in fencing at three Consumers Energy substations, stole whatever he could and then gave the metal to his daughter Amy Barnette and her boyfriend Matthew Indish to sell to area scrap yards.

Consumers Energy would make repairs and investigators believe Barnette would be right back at it, striking again and again.

"It's extremely dangerous to enter without authorization and guidance of professionals," said Consumers Energy Area Manager Kevin Keene.

Barnette was even severely shocked stealing metal from a spot behind the Kmart on Miller Road and spent a day in the hospital, according to Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell.

"He had serious burns on both arms due to the incident, first and second degree burns," Pickell said.

Earlier this month, after the thefts started taking place, Consumers Energy doubled it's reward for tips leading to metal theft arrests.

The information in this case didn't come from the public, Keene said, so there will be no reward given in this instance.

The company is maintaining that $10,000 reward for information in other cases.

Please call 800-760-3295 to report a tip.

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