BANGOR, Maine — Three people — one of them a former employee — have been indicted by the Penobscot County grand jury in connection with the theft of copper from Bangor Hydro-Electric Co.
Indicted Wednesday were Stephen L. Ryan, 65, of Bangor, Leslie Mushero, 33, of LaGrange and Marc Corey, 42, of Orrington, Penobscot County District Attorney R. Christopher Almy said Wednesday.
Almy said Ryan was employed by Bangor Hydro when the theft occurred, Mushero was an alleged accomplice and that Corey, owner of Corey’s Recycling in Orrington, accepted the copper at his scrap metal business despite knowing it was stolen.
Ryan and Mushero are charged with one count each of felony theft by unauthorized taking and Corey is charged with felony receiving stolen property, according to an indictment list released Wednesday afternoon.
If convicted, the suspects could face fines of up to $5,000 each and prison time of up to five years.
Bangor Hydro spokeswoman Susan Faloon said Ryan no longer works for the company.
“This indictment is the result of an ongoing investigation by the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department with cooperation from Bangor Hydro,” Faloon said.
Faloon said the total cost of the copper theft to Bangor Hydro was $35,000 and and that company will be seeking restitution.
“Copper theft is something we take very seriously,” said John Greaves, Bangor Hydro safety superintendent.
“In this case, the wire was taken from inventory and was not in use at the time, but copper theft from the electrical system can place the thieves, customers and employees at risk of injury,” he said.
Faloon said the theft took place within the last year but declined to discuss other details.
Because of these safety concerns and the costs that ultimately are borne by customers, it is particularly important to Bangor Hydro to deter all copper theft, including by pursuing prosecution to the full extent of the law, Bangor Hydro officials said.
Bangor Hydro has worked with law enforcement and state lawmakers in support of LD 1708, which would place greater restrictions on the sale of scrap metal in Maine.
Anyone who has knowledge of copper theft from Bangor Hydro or who witnesses any suspicious activity at a substation or other Bangor Hydro property should call their local law enforcement agency, Faloon said.
Correction: An early version of this story requires clarification. The total cost of the theft to Bangor Hydro — not the value of the copper itself — was $35,000.