Lewis Co. copper-wire unit arrests two

A task force set up to combat copper-wire thefts in Lewis County made its first two arrests on its first day of operation Thursday, the sheriff's office reported Friday.

Kevin George Walters, 41, and Tracey Lee Walters, 39, both of Kelso, are suspected of stealing about 800 feet of underground copper power cable at Glenoma County Park. The wire supplied electrical power to the kitchen area and baseball field concession stand. The cost of the damage was about $3,200, police said.

The copper-wire thefts have largely targeted the Public Utility District, police have said. The county has reported 37 such thefts since January. Investigators think thieves are taking the wiring out of state to recycling centers that aren't as heavily regulated as those in Washington.

Kevin Walters was booked into the Lewis County Jail on suspicion of first-degree malicious mischief, first-degree theft, second-degree burglary, possession of stolen property and possession of methamphetamine. Tracey Walters was booked on suspicion of first-degree malicious mischief, first-degree theft, first-degree trafficking in stolen property, second-degree burglary and possession of stolen property. Both were being held there without bail Friday night, according to roster information online.

Investigators ask the public to call 9-1-1 to report any suspicious activities around utility poles.

Online reporter April Chan writes for The Olympian. She can be reached at 360-754-5406 or achan@theolympian.com.