CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Ricky Sprouse, 53, of Raleigh County, and Stuart Dotson, 55, of Fayette County, were sentenced to prison Thursday for their roles in destroying a coal mine that spans Boone and Lincoln counties.

Court documents and statements report that Sprouse and Dotson admitted they worked with others to seal several pieces of specialized equipment from the mine in 2019.

The mine was forced to shut down for two weeks because it could not function without the stolen equipment. The theft also caused hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage to the mine.

Both men pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the destruction of an energy facility. Sprouse was sentenced to nine months in prison, and Dotson was sentenced to one year in prison. Both face three years of supervised release after prison.

Agencies involved in this investigation included the West Virginia State Police and FBI.


(March 10, 2022, at 2:33 p.m.): A man from Raleigh County has pleaded guilty to damaging a coal mine.

The US Attorney’s Office says 46-year-old Ricky Sprouse, of Naoma, admitted to damaging a coal mine and stealing specialized equipment.

He pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the destruction of an energy facility. This crime comes with a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Sprouse will be sentenced on June 8, 2022.

The West Virginia State Police and the FBI handled this investigation.