Teenager pleads in Vt. power line vandalism case

Monday July 8, 2013

ST. JOHNSBURY (AP) -- An 18-year-old man who pleaded no contest to charges he took part in a vandalism spree that destroyed 136 glass insulators on a high-voltage power line in Concord never would have participated if he would have known how dangerous it was, his attorney said.

Jordon Hamel, of Littleton, N.H., entered the plea last month in exchange for a three-year deferred sentence, community service and restitution. If he abides by the terms of his sentence the conviction will be wiped from his record.

Utility officials said the incident last October in the Top of The World area of Concord could have ended tragically with the 450,000 volts carried by the power lines arcing or being diverted into the ground, potentially electrocuting Hamel and others.

Hamel’s attorney Corby Gary said his client would never have participated if he was aware of the danger.

"I don’t think anyone knew there was that much power in those lines," Gary said. "It was quite a shock."

The destruction of the insulators caused an estimated $80,000 damage to the power line owned by the Vermont Electric Power Company.

In addition to the deferred sentence, Hamel agreed to perform 240 hours of community service and pay $500 restitution.

Last month, Patrick Brummer, of Bethlehem, N.H., pleaded guilty to a variety of charges. He is going to spend 60 days on a Vermont prison work crew.


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