A Clark County man and woman were indicted Wednesday on felony charges involving theft of copper wire from highway lighting systems on Interstate 64 and two Kentucky parkways, the state Transportation Cabinet said in a release.
A Franklin County grand jury returned a 28-count indictment against Brian Bentley and Cindy Ferguson, both of rural Clark County. Each is charged with seven counts of theft by unlawful taking and seven counts of first-degree criminal mischief. In addition, Bentley is charged with 14 counts of being a persistent felony offender.
The investigation uncovered a series of thefts at vandalized lighting systems at I-64 interchanges in Bath and Carter counties, the Blue Grass Parkway in Woodford County and the Mountain Parkway in Clark County. The thefts were reported on various dates in October and November.
Investigators determined that about 34,300 feet of wire had been cut and removed for sale to metal recyclers. The preliminary estimate by Transportation Cabinet engineers is that repairs at the four interchanges will cost more than $116,000.
The indictment was the second in a year against Ferguson, who last December was charged along with her now-estranged husband, Aaron Ferguson, in a string of copper-wire thefts from highway lights in nine Kentucky counties.
Aaron Ferguson was sentenced in August to 10 years in prison on 33 felony counts of theft, criminal mischief and being a persistent felony offender. Cindy Ferguson pleaded guilty to five misdemeanor counts of criminal facilitation to theft. She was sentenced to 12 months in jail, which was probated for two years.
Cindy Ferguson and Bentley were arrested together at a residence on Kiddville Road in Clark County. Evidence gathered against the couple was turned over to Franklin County Commonwealth’s Attorney Larry Cleveland, who presented the case to a Franklin County grand jury.
The charges were brought in Franklin County because it is the seat of Kentucky state government and site of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s headquarters.