Police nab copper thief in Fairfield

Posted Jan. 29, 2012, at 12:46 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2012, at 5:27 p.m.

FAIRFIELD, Maine — A sharp-eyed neighbor helped police to catch a reported copper thief red-handed on Saturday.

The neighbor spotted a pile of copper pipe lying on a snowbank on Park Street and called police about 8:30 a.m., according to Officer Paul St. Amand. The pipe apparently had been stolen from a vacant house at the corner of Elm and Park streets.

He called an off-duty officer to the scene to run surveillance, waiting for someone to come pick up the piping and sell it at the scrapyard, which closed at noon. Police had considered just returning the pipe to the owner of the house, but decided that the chance of nabbing a thief was too good to pass up, St. Amand said.

At 11:30 a.m., two men pulled up in a pickup truck and started loading the pipe, he said. When they were half-done, police took them into custody.

William McLain, Jr., 29, of Fairfield was arrested and charged with burglary and aggravated criminal mischief, both of which are felonies.

Bruce Lee, Jr., 42, of Clinton was charged with theft, as he was involved only in picking up the piping, according to the officer.

Both men are scheduled to make their first court appearances on the matter in March.