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Press Release

Two Sentenced to Prison for Roles in Destruction of Energy Facility

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Two men were sentenced to prison today for aiding and abetting the destruction of an energy facility, a known mine located across Boone and Lincoln counties. Christopher Priestley, 44, of Boone County, was sentenced to one year in prison while Earnest Wriston, 56, of Ohio,  was sentenced to two years in prison. Both face three years of supervised release after their prison terms.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Priestley, of Seth, and Wriston, of Sidney, Ohio, each admitted to working with others to steal multiple pieces of specialized mining equipment from the known mine in 2019. These thefts forced the mine to shut down for a period of two weeks as the mine was unable to function without the stolen pieces of equipment. The thefts also resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage to the mine.

United States Attorney Will Thompson made the announcement and commended the investigative work of the West Virginia State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Senior United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr. imposed the sentences. Assistant United States Attorney Kathleen Robeson prosecuted the cases.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case Nos. 2:21-cr-219 and 2:21-cr-269.





Updated June 21, 2022