Bucks County Man Charged with Causing More Than $1.5 Million in Damage to Decommissioned Power Plants Across Philadelphia Region by Stealing Copper Wire to Sell for Scrap
PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that Michael Garrison, 43, of Croydon, PA, was charged by Information with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to destroy an energy facility, eight counts of wire fraud, two counts of destruction of an energy facility, and one count of filing a false tax return.
The Information alleges that starting in 2018 and continuing until August 2021, Garrison broke into shuttered coal-fired power plants that had been decommissioned, including Titus Station in Berks County, Cromby Station in Chester County, Southward Generating Station in Philadelphia, and the Gould Street Generating Station in Baltimore, Maryland, in order to steal copper wire and other metal, which he then sold to scrap yards in Philadelphia. The Information further alleges that between January 2020 and August 2021, Garrison sold stolen scrap on approximately 175 separate occasions to a Philadelphia scrap yard, for which he was paid more than $117,000. But the payment the defendant received paled in comparison to the damage he caused to the power plants. For example, the Information alleges that in the summer of 2021 alone, Garrison caused more than $1.5 million worth of damage to Titus Station in order to expose and pull the copper wire and other metal that he stole from that facility. As set forth in the Information, Garrison is also charged with filing a false 2020 U.S. Income Tax Return that failed to declare the more than $62,000 he was paid that year from the Philadelphia scrap yard.
“Stealing or vandalizing energy facilities – operational or not – is a federal offense which will be vigorously prosecuted by our Office,” said U.S. Attorney Romero.
“Brazenly breaking into and damaging a power facility — for any reason — is unacceptable,” said Jacqueline Maguire, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “It’s imperative to hold perpetrators accountable for their destruction and, in doing so, we seek to also deter others from committing such a serious federal crime.”
“No matter the source, all income is taxable,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Yury Kruty. “Mr. Garrison is alleged to have earned a living by stealing. Income derived from theft is taxable and IRS-CI remain committed to investigating these types of crimes. “
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michael S. Lowe and Judy Smith.
An Indictment, Information, or Criminal Complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.