Documents filed in Natrona County District Court allege that a copper thief inadvertently cut into a live electrical line supplying power to an oil rig.

The owners of the rig told investigators that unknown people entered an industrial yard on 7 Mile Road in the early morning hours of December 7. According to an affidavit of probable cause, the reporting party told authorities that the lights on a workover rig had gone off.

Court documents state the owners of the rig stated an unknown person(s) entered the yard and attempted to cut power cables to the rig by using large bolt cutters.

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"The unknown person(s) were unaware the cable was a 'live' wire and when the plastic protective barrier was cut, the current sparked and arc welded the bolt cutters to the exposed wire and blew the breaker to the rig, shutting off all power and lights," the affidavit states.

The affidavit states witnesses observed a truck in the area park in the roadway and turn off its lights. The truck then sped off toward the West Yellowstone Highway.

Sheriff's deputies also reportedly saw the vehicle drive to the highway before parking at the Ghost Town Truck Stop where they made contact with three occupants and observed what appeared to be heavy-gauge copper wire in the bed of the truck.

The occupants were identified as John David Christensen, Tommie Christ and Christopher Carlen. A deputy writes in the affidavit that the three were unable to provide consistent statements as to why they were seen leaving the area of 7 Mile Road and why there was cut copper wire in the bed.

Christ reportedly told authorities that Carlen woke here at roughly 3 a.m. and asked her to drive him and Christensen in the direction of the airport. She said she did not know why the two wanted to go to the area, but believed they had something illegal planned. She also reportedly told deputies that she recalled Carlen and Christensen placing something heavy into the bed of the truck.

The affidavit states Carlen told investigators he learned about the wire from Christensen. Christensen was picked up by "Mike" around midnight.

At roughly 3 a.m., Christensen reportedly contacted Carlen and stated "I think I cut a live one!" Carlen said he located Christensen and helped drag the wire from the yard through a hole in the fence and load it in the bed of the truck, the affidavit states.

Christ, Christensen and Carlen were ultimately booked into the Natrona County Detention Center.

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