MISSOULA – Four Hungry Horse residents have been sentenced on federal charges stemming from copper thefts from Flathead Valley power substations, the U.S. attorney’s office announced Monday.
Anthony Connor, 31, was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay $24,000 in restitution. Amanda Connor, 29 and Anthony Connor’s wife, was given three years probation and ordered to pay $24,000 in restitution.
Bobby Matney, 28, was sentenced to 10 months, ordered to pay restitution of $37,000.
His ex-wife Terra Matney, 33, was sentenced to three months and ordered to pay almost $13,000 in restitution. She is the sister of Anthony Connor.
The Matneys and Anthony Connor will be under three years of supervised probation after they are released from prison.
All four pleaded guilty to conspiracy to destroy or damage property of an energy facility.
They were sentenced Friday by U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy.
Prosecutors say the defendants conspired to steal copper wire from substations owned by the Bonneville Power Administration and the Flathead and Lincoln electrical co-ops and sell it to a scrap yard.
Prosecutors say the defendants damaged or attempted to damage 11 substations. The cost of repairs and replacement of the copper wire was estimated at over $87,000, court records said.
Matney told investigators the money from copper sales was used to pay bills.
Prosecutors said the removal of the copper grounding wire placed energy facility workers at greater risk of electrocution and nearly caused failure of the energy grid in northwestern Montana.
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