TIFFIN -- The last of seven people charged in a copper theft ring operating in Seneca, Sandusky, and Erie counties has been sentenced to eight years in prison.
Michael Ward, 45, of Clyde pleaded guilty last week to 10 counts of breaking and entering in Seneca County Common Pleas Court, where he was sentenced by Judge Steve Shuff.
Ward was one of seven people convicted on similar charges for thefts from businesses in and near Green Springs, Fremont, Clyde, Bellevue, Perkins Township, and Castalia between March and December, 2010.
All seven were ordered by Judge Shuff to pay restitution to the victims.
Seneca County Prosecutor Derek DeVine said that the group drove around looking for businesses with materials stored outside or businesses that had remote buildings.
"They would cut a fence to gain entry during the night and then drag materials out through the fence," Mr. DeVine said. "After removing the materials, they would push the fence back together so that it would look at first glance as if nothing was amiss.
"The crew would then take the copper wiring and cut it up to look like scrap and then sell it at various scrap dealers in the area," Mr. DeVine said.