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PA Couple Stole Copper from 18 Utility Poles to Pay for Their Wedding

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on September 28, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The economy is down, bills are piling up, and some people simply just don't have enough money to make ends meet. Now the sluggish economy has even caused a Pennsylvania couple to steal copper to pay for their wedding.

April C. Cater, 24, and Joseph Russell, 23, allegedly stole copper wire from 18 utility poles. The total amount of copper they stole is valued at $7,146.

They stole the wire on August 9, just days before their wedding on August 13. Russell told police that he lost his job at an auto parts store and needed the money for the upcoming nuptials.

Russell and Cater sold the stolen copper wire to Allegheny Raw Materials the day after the thefts on August 10. The company then turned surveillance video over to police.

The lovebirds were arrested and charged with theft, criminal conspiracy and criminal mischief.

What exactly is criminal mischief? Under Pennsylvania law, it's a crime where a person intentionally, recklessly, or negligently damages another person's property. Criminal mischief is a felony if the damages are in excess of $5,000. Or if it substantially interrupts or impairs public communications, gas lines, or power lines.

Criminal mischief may not be the best way to save for a wedding. But weddings are expensive. Could Cater and Russell have cut costs some other way?

Well, they could have skimped on the flowers for the reception or pared down the guest list. They could also have served cheaper food.

The best way to save on a wedding: don't have a ceremony or a reception. Getting married at city hall may not be the most romantic wedding fantasy, but it's economical.

What about pilfering copper to pay for a wedding? Probably not the best idea, unless you're keen on spending your honeymoon behind bars.

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