Detectives have arrested one man and are seeking a warrant for another for their part in a pair of copper thefts last week, with the suspects allegedly taking copper from a trailer at a Grove Street construction site and copper pipes from a house that is under construction on Poplar Street.
Police charged Bryan Moody, 48, 24 Myrtle Square in Gloucester, over the weekend with nighttime breaking and entering with felony intent, malicious destruction of property, breaking and entering a trailer with felony intent, and two counts of larceny of more than $250.
Police have also a warrant for Kyle Barry, 24, of no known address in Gloucester, on the same charges.
The thefts come as the price of copper hit $3.60 per pound yesterday, according to Kitco Metals Inc., a metals company that tracks the price. The company’s website indicated that copper values have hit their highest mark of at least the last two months.
Gloucester detective Steven Mizzoni said Moody and Barry stole over $450 worth of copper, but Mizzoni said he’s less concerned with the amount of copper they allegedly grabbed than with the damage they caused at the house construction site at 3 Poplar St.
Mizzoni said Moody had worked on the house; Police received a call from the owner about a break-in and copper theft last Thursday around 7 p.m.
“It (the copper piping) was already plumbed into the heating system, and they just sheared it off,” Mizzoni said.
Mizzoni said the pair planned to sell the copper for scrap to support drug habits. The two, Mizzoni’s report states, are known heroin users.
Mizzoni started investigating after an officer stopped Moody and Barry on Eastern Avenue after he saw them pushing a grocery cart with several bags of copper stashed in it. The two couldn’t account for where it came from, said Mizzoni, and the officer confiscated the metal at 6 a.m. Friday.
Two hours later, Cooper Associates, a construction company with a project on Grove Street called police, reporting that someone had stolen copper piping and fittings from a storage trailer on site. The owner came in and identified the copper that the officer confiscated from Moody and Barry as piping from the site, and police went looking for them, according to the police report.
Mizzoni and detective Jeremiah Nicastro found Moody at 24 Myrtle Square Saturday morning. They found him sleeping in a wooden box with a mattress outside his mother’s house.
The detectives woke him up and confronted him about the thefts. According to Mizzoni’s report, Moody admitted that he and Barry had gone onto the construction site and taken the copper.
At that point, Moody was placed under arrest and taken to the police station. There, according to the report, Moody told police that he and Barry had entered 3 Poplar St. through a basement window, and hacked off copper piping from the home’s hot water heater. The two cut off piping with a large shear and sold it as scrap, he reportedly told police.
Mizzoni said copper thefts are getting more common since the price of copper and other scrap metal has gone up. He said the department has seen a lot of these kind of thefts.
“We’ve been chasing them since scrap jumped up,” he said.
Steven Fletcher can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3455, or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @StevenGDT