BANGOR, Maine — A Milo man pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court to a charge in connection with copper thefts that caused more than $43,000 in damage to four Bangor Hydro Electric Co. substations and one switching station in three counties.
Michael Jered Weston, 37, waived indictment and pleaded guilty to one count of damage in excess of $5,000 to the property of an energy facility, according to information posted on the federal court system’s website.
A sentencing date has not been set.
Weston was responsible for eight of 19 break-ins between Nov. 24, 2010, and July 11, 2011, at Bangor Hydro facilities where copper was stolen, according to court documents.
Weston estimated that he stole more than 1,600 pounds of copper from Bangor Hydro facilities.
The copper theft on July 11, 2011, at the Brooksville substation tripped a breaker at that site, causing power to be cut off to several towns served by that substation,according to court documents.
Weston admitted to causing more than $5,000 in damage in 2010 and 2011 when he stole copper from substations in Milo, Orrington and Brooksville, according to the prosecution version of events to which he pleaded guilty.
The damage inflicted at a substation in Derby, which Weston admitted breaking into three times, and a switching station in Enfield, which he also admitted burglarizing, did not total more than $5,000 but can be considered as relevant conduct when Weston’s sentence is imposed.
The break-ins in Derby took place on Nov. 24, 2010, May 26 and June 2, 2011, Weston told police. He also admitted to taking copper from the Milo substation on Nov. 24, 2010, and May 5, 2011.
In addition to those thefts, Weston confessed to stealing copper from the Enfield switching station and the Orrington substation on May 3, 2011, and June 4, 2011, respectively.
He is being held without bail at the Penobscot County Jail awaiting sentencing.
Susan Faloon, spokeswoman for Bangor Hydro, said that Weston has not been charged in state court in connection with the copper thefts. She also said that no one else so far has been charged in connection with the incidents.
He faces up to five years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Weston also could be ordered to pay restitution.