UPSHUR COUNTY, Texas (KETK) — A Gilmer man was sentenced to 60 years in prison after pleading guilty to burglary of a habitation and criminal mischief for disrupting power at an Upshur Rural substation by stealing copper wire. He was sentenced to 50 years with an additional 10 years due to his prior criminal history.

In September of 2021, Christopher Robertson, 35, was arrested for damage done to an Upshur Rural Electric Cooperative substation. Deputies responded to a reported fire at the Upshur Rural Electric substation on Bluebird Road.

When authorities arrived, they found copper ground wire cut and two regulators burned with smoke still coming from them. The release stated that cigarettes and other items left behind aided officers in identifying Robertson as a suspect.

The cutting of the wiring at the facility led to overheating of instruments and eventually a fire, which caused serious damage to the substation and caused a power outage to several locations.

Deputies say they found evidence of recent damage to an abandoned well-site east of the substation, owned by Centerpoint Energy.

Officials say that neighbors were able to provide a description of a “suspicious vehicle” at or near the power station. He was ultimately arrested and confessed to the crime that knocked the substation out of service, according to authorities.

“I want to commend our officers and especially investigator Shane Guthrie who put in many hours to find, arrest and see this defendant brought to justice. I further hope this sentence sends a message to anyone else thinking about committing a crime like this.”