Two men charged with breaking into mine; second incident in 10 days

December 7, 2018
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Justin Raynes

BALD KNOB, W.Va. — For the second time in 10 days, an abandoned Boone County coal mine has been breached after alleged thieves searched for copper wiring.

On the night of Dec. 4, Boone County sheriff’s deputies arrested two men in the Jasper Workman area of Bald Knob, West Virginia, and charged them with breaking and entering and grand larceny.

Corey Bryant, 31, and Justin Raynes, 31, both of Clear Fork in Raleigh County, were taken into custody after deputies were notified about the possibility of someone being inside an abandoned mine earlier that day. A short time after their arrival, deputies and West Virginia State Police troopers took the two men into custody without incident.

Via email and text message, Chief Deputy Chad Barker said the recent trend of breaking into abandoned mines is a tremendous cause for concern to him.

“This incident occurred at a different mine than the one a week ago, but in the same general area,” Barker said. “It is a disturbing trend with people entering abandoned mines to steal copper wiring. I can’t stress how dangerous this idea is, and it’s only a matter of time before we get a less desirable ending.”

Last week, at an abandoned mine near Wharton, just a short jaunt from Bald Knob, the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training organized a search of the mine to find a man who was reportedly still inside. No one was found in the search. Two arrests were made in the incident and one man, Wes Blackburn, of Oceana, West Virginia, was still at large as of Tuesday with an outstanding warrant for his arrest.

Both Bryant and Raynes are being held in the Southwestern Regional Jail.

Reporter Phil Perry can be reached at pperry@hdmediallc.com or follow him on Twitter @philipdperry.

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