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Mar-28-2008 14:20printcomments

Truck 'Overload' of Stolen PGE Wire Leads to Arrest of Suspected Metal Thief

Deputies believe it is probably meth related.

Truck laden with stolen PGE cable
Photos courtesy: Clackamas County Sheriff's Office

(CLACKAMAS, Ore.) - Two construction workers arriving at work early this morning in Wilsonville say they caught a metal thief stealing large amounts of PGE cable from their jobsite. They say the man was observed overloading his compact pick-up truck with downed Portland General Electric power lines.

Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Spokesman Jim Strovink says it is just the latest chapter in a story about meth addicts who are literally, dismantling our state.

"They are dismantling our infrastructure, our bridges, even our light rail, they are dismantling highway signs, power lines, it is a really serious problem."

Strovink says police were lucky this time. The construction workers followed the alleged metal thief as he jumped in his vehicle and left the area. Carl Kroeplin and Robert Snead alerted the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office and that led to the arrest of the suspect who was stopped by West Linn Police, at the West Linn and I-205 exit at approximately 7:45 AM.

"Reportedly Kroeplin and Snead arrived at the site at 7:00 AM and witnessed a male subject, later identified as Destin Jason Nichols, loading downed PGE power lines into the bed of an older, black, Dodge, Dakota pick-up truck, with Oregon license plates displayed as 123-BVM," Strovink said.

"Both Kroeplin and Snead inquired as to what this suspicious person was doing as he was departing the area with an extensive load of 1" braided PGE wire. Reportedly Destin Nichols declared he was an employee of PGE and was taking this load of wire to a PGE lot."

Deputies the apprehended suspect who is identified as 37-year old Destin Jason Nichols. Strovink says this Portland man has an established criminal history.

"In '97 Crook County convicted him of Theft in the first degree, he was convicted in Lincoln County for controlled substance in '95, again in '94 the Portland Police Bureau arrested him for a controlled substance, which was meth."

Strovink says that from a police perspective, it is extremely frustrating. "It is a revolving door. Fortunately this guy's crimes were felonious but most of them just do six months and then they are back on the street."

He says Oregon's restriction of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine sales has helped, but the methamphetamine continues to flow north from Mexico. At this time he says the price of heroin is rising, and cocaine sales are going through the roof.

Strovink believes Oregon's new rules have greatly impacted local manufacturing, but they have also driven demand for imported meth.

"Meth really drives people" Strovink explained. "It causes them to stay up for days and they do things they would never otherwise consider."

Drug treatment experts talk about something called "meth psychosis" which comes about from a person using meth for an extended period of time. Sometimes the results are very serious, sometimes they are tragic.

At any rate the federal government with their persistent campaigns against marijuana, seem to be missing the boat when it comes to fighting meth abuse, which brings a set of problems unique among all other forms of drug abuse.

The lone suspect, Destin Jason Nichols, was taken into custody by Clackamas County Sheriff's Deputies, transported to the Clackamas County Jail and lodged for the related crimes.

He is charged with first-degree Criminal Mischief, a class C felony, first-degree Theft, also a class C felony, and Failing to maintain a metal purchase record, a class B misdemeanor. His total bail about is $33,500.

Destin Jason Nichols is scheduled to be arraigned on this matter in the Clackamas County Circuit Court on Monday, March 31st at 3:00 PM.

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destin nichols April 10, 2011 8:54 am (Pacific time)

Its really pretty funny 3 years later thinking about what happened that morning in comparison to what was reported. I honestly did not say i was an employee of PGE nor did I say I was taking it to their lot... I told the truth for the most part that I was an out of work painter and that my uncle works for PGE. He is not my uncle just a friends dad. And as far as "dismantling the nation" officer strokit Do you know the difference between downed power lines and in tact working lines? These lines were grown over with blackberries and left for a good length of time after all the poles were cut and new lines ran underground. but whatever. And whos the person deciding that meth is to blame for anything scap metal related???

Jesse March 29, 2008 9:08 am (Pacific time)

The scrap metal business who buy this stuff, should be under tighter scrutiny and control. These guys know darn well a lot of this stuff is stolen.

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