Gilmer man charged with criminal mischief in connection with power substation power fire

Christopher Dean Robertson, 34
Christopher Dean Robertson, 34(Upshur County sheriff)
Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 4:17 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 25, 2021 at 4:27 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Upshur County Sheriff’s Office has arrested a man in connection with copper theft that led to a fire at a power substation.

From the Upshur County Sheriff’s Office:

The Upshur County Sheriff’s Office investigation into the September 1, 2021 damage to an Upshur Rural Electric Cooperative substation has resulted in the arrest of one person and a warrant being issued for another.

Christopher Dean Robertson, 34 years of age, of Gilmer on the charge of Criminal Mischief over $30,000 under $150,000, a third degree felony, in relation to the Upshur Rural Electric Cooperative Substation. Bond was set at $100,000 for this charge by Justice of the Peace Betterton.

On September 1, 2021, Upshur County Deputies responded to the Upshur Rural Electric substation on Bluebird Road for a reported fire.

At the location deputies discovered that actors had cut copper wiring at the facility. This led to overheating of instruments and an eventual fire, causing serious damage to the substation and causing power outage to several thousand locations.

Deputies also discovered evidence of recent damage to an abandoned well-site that is immediately east of the substation, owned by Centerpoint Energy.

During the course of this investigation, it became known that the same actors were involved in oil well site thefts in the Gregg County area.

Upshur County investigators, along with investigators from the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office, Longview Police Department, Texas Game Wardens, and The Gregg County Organized Drug Enforcement Unit all worked together during the investigation and apprehension in this case.

The investigation lead to the arrest of Christopher Dean Robertson, 34 years of age, of Gilmer on the charge of Criminal Mischief over $30,000 under $150,000, a third degree felony, in relation to the Upshur Rural Electric Cooperative Substation. Bond was set at $100,000 for this charge by Justice of the Peace Betterton.

In addition to this charge, Robertson is charged with nine counts of Tampering with Oil/Gas Rigs To Limit Control/Operation, 3rd Degree Felony, stemming from thefts and damage to oil well locations in Gregg County (Bonds set at $10,000 for each count by Judge Betterton) and an Unauthorized Use of Motor Vehicle charge (State Jail Felony, bond set at $100,000 by Justice of the Peace Potter)

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