BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A man has pleaded no contest to 17 felonies for committing a slew of copper wire thefts resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.
Under Tuesday’s plea agreement, Christopher Williams will be sentenced to five years in prison next month, prosecutors said. He had faced a total of 48 felonies and five misdemeanors.
Williams, 46, pleaded no contest to multiple counts of vandalism, possession of a stolen vehicle and recklessly evading a peace officer.
Private investigator Steve Urner, of Urner Investigations, located Williams and his teen son near a stolen pickup March 10 behind the Buttonwillow truck stop at Interstate 5 and Highway 58. Urner alerted authorities but Williams and his son fled before deputies surrounded them.
A high-speed chase ensued through fields and along portions of Highway 58, the pickup eventually breaking down and Williams and his son abandoning the vehicle, according to court filings. They were picked up in the area hours later.
Prosecutors say Williams’ son was not charged but had a warrant for his arrest outside the county.
Williams admitted using Sawzalls and bolt cutters to vandalize water wells and pumping equipment to expose copper cables, the filings say. He stripped the wire and took it to an illegal recycling operation not requiring identification, receiving enough money to get by.
Court filings listed 21 copper wire pumping unit thefts linked to Williams and his son, with damage estimated at $224,500.