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Published: July 28, 2008 11:26 pm ShareThisPrintThis
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Newburyport: Police find sheathing from stolen copper wire
By Dan Atkinson
Staff Writer

NEWBURYPORT - In the spring, several marinas were robbed of hundreds of thousands of dollars in copper wire. And the thief may have been cooling his heels across the way from one of his victims.
Acting on a tip yesterday, police found thousands of feet of wire sheathing hidden at 333 Merrimac St., located across the street from the Newburyport Boat Basin, which lost $50,000 worth of wire. The Newburyport Yacht Club lost $100,000 worth of wire, and Amesbury's Hatter's Point Marina was robbed as well.
Sgt. Stephen Chaisson said police were still investigating the piles of sheathing, which were split open to extract the valuable copper, and had not determined if the cables were from the burgled marinas. But he said marina owners sometimes place identifying marks or numbers on their cables, and police are hopeful the owners will be able to identify which cables came from where.
Inspector Brian Brunault said the sheathing was stored in a crawl space under the building's basement floorboards. Police pulled bag after bag of cables, which ranged from pink and green sheaths an inch in diameter to thicker black tubes, from the dirty room last evening for Department of Public Works employees to haul away. Brunault said the crawl space measured roughly 20-by-40 feet and was full of the cables.
"It's completely full," Brunault said. "Someone spent a lot of time cutting that up."
Police have not yet charged anyone and said the owner had been very cooperative during the search. Brunault said the two-family house is currently unoccupied, but police are investigating past tenants.
"We're going to work in that direction, see where it takes us," he said.
As copper has increased in value - it currently sells for about $3.70 a pound - thieves have gone after pipes and wiring in housing projects, telephone wires and most recently the copper in electrical hookups at marinas, which are closed over the winter and often not monitored closely. Marinas have been targeted in the past as well - thieves reportedly swiped a 70-foot section of 1-inch diameter copper pipe from a Rockport marina last year.
And the stolen copper is only part of the problem for marinas. Repairing the damage done from thieves breaking in and slashing away sections of wire can cost marina owners a pretty penny - the Hatter's Point Marina owner estimated his damages at about $24,000.
"The damage is so much more than the value of the wire," Chaisson said.
 

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Published: July 30, 2008 03:53 am ShareThisPrintThis
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Newburyport: Police 'pretty sure' they know who stole copper wire
By Dan Atkinson
Staff Writer

NEWBURYPORT - Police are still investigating who stole more than 3,000 feet of copper wire and hid the sheathing in a Merrimac Street house, but they are "pretty sure of who it might be," according to Inspector Brian Brunault.
"We're going to gather more evidence and make as solid a case as we can," he said.
Several marinas in Newburyport and Amesbury were burglarized this past winter, with the thief taking utility cables in order to strip out the copper wire. Acting on a tip Monday night, police found a crawl space full of split sheathings in a house across the street from one of the marinas - Newburyport Boat Basin.
Brunault said Monday that the sheathing was stored in a crawl space under the building's basement floorboards. Police pulled bag after bag of cables, which ranged from pink and green sheaths an inch in diameter to thicker black tubes, from the dirty room for Department of Public Works employees to haul away. Brunault said the crawl space measured roughly 20-by-40 feet and was full of the cables.
Brunault said the Boat Basin identified some of its cables through markings on the sheathings, and he said police are working with other marinas to see if any of their cables are in the recovered pile.
 
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