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2 charged with stealing power for burglary tools

By Seth Burkett 340-2355

ODEN RIDGE — Deputies charged two men with stealing electricity when they caught them trying to break into a soda machine with power tools outside Childers' Grocery, Morgan County Chief Deputy Mike Corley said Tuesday.

Corley said he was proud of the deputies who went to the store during the night Sunday. Though no one was around, the officers discovered fresh scratch marks on the machine where someone had tried to open it.

"The officers felt like they might come back. Going on their instinct, one backed off to watch and the other went back on patrol. He felt that, as hard as they'd tried to get in, they might return," Corley said.

Sgt. Tom Hines waited in the shadows while Officer Garry Landers returned to patrol. Their suspicions proved correct, Corley said.

Soon, the suspects, Nicholas Dale Hill, 19, of 3903 Highway 55, Eva, and Mitchell Alan Wood, 23, of 319 County Road 1025, Addison, returned with power tools and again tried breaking into the machine, Corley said.

"They were apparently pulling power off of the outlet there that the soda machine was plugged into. They went and got some power tools and were actually stealing the power there to break into the machine with a Dremel tool," Corley said.

Wood acted as a lookout while Hill worked on the machine, Corley said.

"The sergeant saw him. When he would hear a car coming, he was out to the road and he would holler, 'Car! Car!' and he (Hill) would stop," Corley said.

Hines called Landers back to the scene and they surprised the suspects, Corley said.

"The little guy who was the lookout was intoxicated to the point that it was fruitless for him to try and flee," Corley said. "(Hines) came from behind the store and apprehended the other subject."

Hill and Wood each were charged with a felony, possessing burglary tools, and three misdemeanors, including two counts of third-degree criminal mischief for allegedly damaging the machine and third-degree theft of services for allegedly stealing power, Corley said.

Wood additionally faces a charge of public intoxication.

Morgan Country Jail released Hill and Wood on Monday on $1,650 and $1,950 bonds, respectively.

"It's still under investigation," Corley said, "because we have an interest in talking to them further about other offenses to coin machines."

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