Is Found Copper Wire Connected To Sheriff’s Case?

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Two spools of copper wire were found at the Athens County 911 Center that may or may not be connected to the criminal case of suspended Athens County Sheriff Patrick Kelly.

The spools were found last week as work was ongoing on consoles in the 911 Center. Athens County Interim Sheriff Rodney Smith said the discovery of the spools is not being investigated by the sheriff’s office, nor are they a part of any previous investigation by the sheriff’s office.

Dan Pfeiffer, director of the Athens County 911 Center, referred all questions to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office’s Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCI), which was contacted when the spools were found.

No comment has been made about the condition of the wire, or how long the wire might have been in the 911 Center.

During the course of the investigation that led to a 25-count indictment against him, Kelly was subpoenaed by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office to provide documents relating to copper wire seized in 2007 during a traffic stop by Sheriff’s Deputy Shannon Sheridan, according to previous Messenger reporting.

At the time of the subpoena, Kelly said he notified BCI after receiving the subpoenas, telling them the wire was at a garage the sheriff’s office used for storage. Three spools of wire were found there, but the original sheriff’s report obtained by The Messenger stated that five spools were seized during the traffic stop.

The original report also states that the case was turned over to the Athens Police Department, but that police never retrieved the wire.

While none of the charges against Kelly listed in the indictment specifically mention the copper wire, in the count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, several incidents are listed as reasons for the charge.

One of the incidents listed was Kelly allegedly stealing copper wire from the Athens County garage and failing to deposit any funds received for the wire, according to the indictment.

Agents from BCI visited the sheriff’s office on Tuesday. When contacted later, BCI would not comment on any possible connection between the spools and the criminal case of Kelly.

“There are no new copper theft investigations being conducted by our office, and we have not received a request to investigate a new copper theft,” said Jill Del Greco, spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office, which oversees BCI.

Representatives from the attorney general’s office, along with Kelly, his attorneys and anyone directly connected to Kelly’s criminal case, have been placed under a gag order by Judge Patricia Cosgrove, preventing them from commenting on the case until it has concluded.

Scott Wood and Alyssa Parrott, attorneys who represent Kelly, both cited the gag order when asked for comment about the discovery of the two spools of wire.

Kelly is scheduled to stand trial in January on the indictment, which included, along with the engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity charge, counts of money laundering, tampering with evidence, tampering with records, perjury, failure to keep a cashbook and 13 counts of theft in office. Each of those charges is a felony. Misdemeanor counts of dereliction of duty and obstructing official business were also included in the indictment.