State agents arrested Eddie Earnest, 51, and Encarnacion Burch, 39, both of Marianna, for theft of copper from a utility or communications service provider, according to a Florida Department of Law Enforcement representative.

The investigation, officials say, showed that Earnest and Burch stole copper telephone communication wire that was strung between telephone poles, the action causing outages for a number of customers in Jackson, Holmes and Walton counties. After stealing the wire, the suspects reportedly removed the copper and sold it to a second-hand metal dealer.

According to a Friday statement from FDLE, known damages are around $5,000, but are expected to rise. If you have additional information or believe you were a victim, call FDLE at 850-595-2100.

Agents arrested Earnest and Burch Thursday afternoon, at Earnest’s residence on Mellow Trail in Marianna, and then the pair was booked into the Jackson County jail.

The Office of the State Attorney, 14th Judicial Circuit, will prosecute the case, which was investigated by FDLE and Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. Holmes County Sheriff’s Office and Marianna Police Department also assisted.

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