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Published: Wednesday, 8/18/2004

Man accused of taking cable from utility pole

A Celina, Ohio, man was arrested yesterday after he allegedly was caught stealing copper cable from a utility pole using a bucket truck in South Toledo.

Robert Stickrath, 51, was charged with one count of theft after he was seen removing cables owned by Buckeye CableSystem from a pole near Glendale Avenue and Byrne Road about 11 a.m., police said.

Investigators found 43 coils, valued at $50 each, in his vehicle, according to court records. They said he would sell hundreds of coils at a time to scrap yards.

He used the money for day-to-day things, such as food and vehicle repairs, Toledo police Sgt. Chris Delaney said.

Employees with another utility company saw a man working on a pole a few weeks ago and didn't recognize him or his truck. They called Buckeye CableSystem, which sent someone to investigate the matter, the sergeant said.

The company's investigator, who is a special deputy, spotted the man Monday but didn't see him removing coils. Yesterday, he was caught taking coils from a pole and detained until police arrived, Sergeant Delaney said.

Detectives are investigating who owns the bucket truck. They believe Stickrath has been in Toledo about a month taking coils from poles on Byrne. He may have done the same in Maumee, Waterville, and Whitehouse, they said.

Stickrath was being held in the Lucas County jail pending an arraignment today in Toledo Municipal Court. Nearly 30 years ago, he served time in a state prison on a grand theft conviction, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.



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