Police: Suspected copper thieves caught red-handed in Ellsworth

Posted March 16, 2011, at 7:17 p.m.
Last modified March 16, 2011, at 10:40 p.m.

ELLSWORTH, Maine — A city police officer said he caught two suspected copper thieves red-handed on Wednesday as they hauled copper from a vacant house on the Bangor Road (Route 1A).

Lt. Harold Page of the Ellsworth Police Department said he was on routine patrol Wednesday morning when he saw two men walking down the unplowed driveway of the vacant house. Page said he turned his cruiser around, pulled up and turned on the video camera in the cruiser.

“I sat there for about 10 minutes, and they came back out lugging the copper, “ he said. “I got them on video.”

The two suspects allegedly had filled a metal tub with various pieces of copper from the home, according to Page. He estimated the value at between $20 and $30.

The property was posted, but the two men claimed that they had permission to be there, Page said. A check with the caretaker revealed that they did not have permission to be on the property, the lieutenant said.

Page issued summonses to Gary Hallett, 42, of Hancock and Timothy Cox, 39, of Ellsworth charging them both with theft. Charges of criminal trespass could be added later, Page said.

With metal price, and particularly copper prices remaining high, Page said police departments everywhere have been dealing with these types of incidents. Usually, they deal with reports of the thefts after the fact.

“We get hammered with this stuff all the time,’’ he said. “This time, I just came upon it.”

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