CALAIS – Bail was set Tuesday in 4th District Court for a 26-year-old former Calais man who now lives in Bangor for allegedly stealing copper wire from the federal government.
On April 30, Devin W. Brown allegedly stole copper wire valued at more than $4,000 from the U.S. Border Patrol’s construction site in Baileyville. The federal government is building a new facility in the town’s Industrial Park on Routes 9 and 1.
Brown reportedly sold the wire to a local scrap dealer for $200.
Work at the Baileyville site began last year.
The Baileyville project will cost around $6 million to complete and will accommodate 25 Border Patrol agents. Plans call for construction of a 10,800-square-foot area to include a vehicle port and storage as well as maintenance and an anti-smuggling unit area.
The site will include a security fence, which is not up yet.
Brown also entered a guilty plea to receiving stolen property in connection with five ceremonial swords reportedly taken from a Baileyville man.
Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Davis asked Judge John Romei to set bail at $5,000 surety or $1,000 cash.
But Brown’s attorney, Carol Lewis of Lubec, said that Brown recently had started a new job and did not have $1,000.
The judge then set bail at $10,000 unsecured.
Brown also had two prior charges of burglary and theft as a result of an incident on June 13, 2003. Davis said that the two current charges were elevated to felonies because of the two previous incidents.
Copper is a hot commodity. A new brand of thieves has been stealing copper from houses and junkyards and selling it to scrap metal dealers.
In September, thieves reportedly made off with $30,000 worth of copper after gutting out a wind turbine tower at the base of Mars Hill Mountain.
In Portland, a man was charged with stealing nearly $10,000 worth of copper and brass from his former employer, and in July, four people were arrested in two separate incidents connected to the attempted theft of copper from what is known locally as Smith’s Junkyard on Route 191 in Meddybemps.
In separate incidents, also in July, several break-ins were reported in houses in the western part of Washington County where copper pipes were ripped out of the walls.
According to police, the metal is being taken to other parts of the state and sold, reportedly for more than twice what it sold for last year, depending on the buyer.