News and Press Releases

COWLITZ COUNTY MAN SENTENCED FOR PHONE WIRE THEFTS
Repeat Offender with Violent History Gets 24 Month Prison Term

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 6, 2008

KEVIN SCOTT SEXTON, 40, of Cowlitz County, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 24 months in prison and 3 years of supervised release for Conspiracy to Commit Interstate Transportation of Stolen Goods. SEXTON is one of three men who stole thousands of pounds of telephone wire right off the poles, burned off the insulation and sold it in Oregon as scrap metal. U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton imposed the sentence.

According to documents filed in the case, SEXTON and his coconspirators were identified as connected to multiple wire thefts in a number of ways, including a cell phone one dropped in the brush at one of the sites where wires were taken. In January 2008, the men allegedly cut the wires in the early morning hours, then they would remove the plastic insulating cover. In at least one instance they left the insulation material around the apartment complex in Longview, Washington, where another conspirator was living. Then they took the wire to a rock pit in Oregon where they burned the rest of the insulation off. From there they transported the wire to a scrap metal dealer in Portland where they sold it for about $3,000.

In all, the men stole more than 3500 pounds of wire to sell as scrap before they were arrested on January 29, 2008. The thefts caused major telephone disruptions in Cowlitz County in the Rocky Point area north of Kelso, the Ocean Beach Highway west of Coal Creek and the 4200 block of West Side Highway. Replacing the wire cost Qwest Communications more than $121,000.

SEXTON was indicted April 28, 2008, and pleaded guilty on September 8, 2008. Two other defendants, Samuel Otton, III, 42, and Aaron Ryan Sweringen, 33, pleaded guilty in September 2008, and will be sentenced in early 2009.

In asking for a significant sentence, Assistant United States Attorney Mike Dion pointed out that SEXTON has 13 prior felony convictions, 8 of them for domestic violence assaults. “Kevin Sexton is more than just a thief and a drug addict. He is a vicious, violent man who had repeatedly attacked women and fought with police. He has been committing serious and violent crimes for 14 years and nothing seems to slow him down. This Court should do everything it can to protect the public from Sexton,” Mr. Dion wrote in his sentencing memo.

The case was investigated by the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Department and the FBI.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael Dion.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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