By Brad Segall

By Brad Segall

UPPER DARBY, Pa. (CBS) — An Upper Darby man remained free on bail on Thursday while he awaits sentencing after admitting he stole copper wire from three Verizon facilities in Montgomery and Bucks counties.

45-year-old James Basler pleaded guilty to three felony counts of theft by unlawful taking in connection with incidents that occurred between 2007 and 2010 in Pottstown and Lansdale in Montgomery County, and Churchville in Bucks County.

Basler, an electrical subcontractor, told police he would then sell the copper wire to scrap yards in Philadelphia to pay off gambling debts.

Authorities say the wire was valued at more than $165,000.

Montgomery County Judge Garrett Page deferred sentencing while he waits for the completion of a pre-sentence investigation.

Basler could face a maximum of 10½ to 21 years in prison, but he’s also being evaluated to determine whether house arrest would be an option.

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