Copper wire caper yields prison time

RENO — A repeat felon has been sentenced to at least two years in prison for selling copper wire from power lines that sparked a brush fire and power outage in Verdi last fall.

Richard Fimby, 49, pleaded guilty to obtaining money under false pretenses in connection with selling the stolen metals. He was sentenced Wednesday by Washoe District Judge Steven Kosach.

Fimby also faces copper wire theft charges in Churchill County that occurred while he was free on bail awaiting sentencing in the Reno case, prosecutors said. He has four previous felony convictions.

Authorities nationwide have seen an increase in the theft of copper wiring from power poles, construction sites and plumbing from vacant buildings.

Police say many of such thieves are methamphetamine users trying to get money to buy drugs.

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