GONZALES, Texas (AP) — A San Antonio man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for stealing copper in a ring that investigators say targeted Central Texas communication towers.

Ricky Thatcher must also pay more than $163,000 to victims, including the Lower Colorado River Authority.

Thatcher pleaded guilty to engaging in organized criminal activity. An LCRA spokeswoman said Tuesday that Thatcher was sentenced Oct. 7.

Copper was stolen this year from more than two dozen towers. The investigation led to the April arrest of two suspects in Gonzales County, where multiple cases were consolidated.

Victims also included AT&T, Verizon, the National Weather Service and Brazos Electric Cooperative.

A second man earlier pleaded guilty for his role in the thefts, assisted prosecutors and received 10 years of probation. Two other suspects await trial.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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