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2 men charged with entering abandoned mine to steal copper

KEYSTONE, W.Va. — State police say they’ve charged two McDowell County men for going into an abandoned coal mine to steal copper. One of the men had to be rescued Friday.

McDowell County 911 got a call Friday afternoon from a man identified as Benny McPeak, 31, of Northfork. He reported his friend, Matthew Osborne, 36, of Crumpler, had entered the old Keystone No. 1 on Burke Mountain Friday and hadn’t come out. McPeak said he overheard Osborne say he was going to steal copper.

State police and a mine rescue team were called to the scene. They found an unconscious Osborne in the mine at about 10 p.m. Friday. He regained consciousness once he got into good air.

Troopers said they later found out McPeak and Osborne entered the mine together Thursday night to steal copper and they got separated. McPeak made it out but Osborne didn’t.

McPeak was arrested for breaking and entering and attempting to commit a felony. Troopers said they would arrest Osborne once he’s released from Welch Community Hospital.

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