A 36-year-old man is facing eight more charges in North Carolina over the alleged theft of coaxial cable from cell towers in Buncombe County.

He's already facing 47 charges in Henderson County, North Carolina, for similar offenses.

Copper theft
– Getty Images

Vincent DePaul, of Balsam Grove, North Carolina, was accused of stealing transmission lines from cell phone towers last week in Buncombe County.

The Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office confirmed last week it has filed eight more charges against DePaul, including two counts of injury to utility wire, two counts of felony larceny, two counts of obtaining property by false pretense, and two counts of first-degree trespass.

The charges were filed following a month-long investigation between the sheriff's office and AT&T asset protection.

All the sites that have been targeted by DePaul are owned by AT&T. The choice of only hitting AT&T sites is what led to his arrest, the sheriff's office said.

He was first arrested on December 15 last year in Henderson County, while committing one of the crimes.

Following his arrest he was charged with ten counts of injury to utility wire and fixtures, nine counts of larceny, ten counts of first-degree trespass, nine counts of obtaining property by false pretense, and nine counts of possession of stolen property.

DePaul was taken to the Henderson County Detention Center and given a $810,000 bond.

He also has a hold from New York for the same type of charges with full extradition, noted Henderson County Sherriff Office. He remains an inmate in the detention center.

Law enforcement officials revealed that during the investigation detectives were able to detect the suspect via video surveillance in Asheville on December 5, and then later at another AT&T site in a different county. 

DePaul was then linked with ten other cases, dating back to last May.

Back in 2022, Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office charged 12 people in a cell site transmission line copper theft ring, which caused an estimated $331,000 worth of damage.

The news comes a week after a Texas man who set fire to approximately 22 cell towers, was sentenced to six and a half years in prison.

Sean Aaron Smith, 30, of San Antonio, Texas, is believed to have caused approximately $1.1 million worth of damage.

Smith held anti-5G and anti-government views, according to prosecutors, and was also slapped with gun charges.