April 09, 2020

Brothers charged with theft of copper

BANGOR – Two Medway brothers were charged this week with burglarizing a dormant electric power station in Chester last month and stealing copper from the facility.

Jonathan Ladd, 24, and Ricky Ladd, 20, made an initial appearance Thursday in 3rd District Court in Bangor where both men stand charged with breaking into the Beaver Chester Power Plant.

DNA taken from cigarette butts left at the scene linked Jonathan Ladd to the Sept. 9 burglary, according to court documents. The Maine State Police Crime Lab is still evaluating a DNA sample taken from a can of Mountain Dew. That sample shows similarities to Jonathan Ladd’s DNA, and could belong to a relative, Deputy District Attorney Michael Roberts of the Penobscot County District Attorney’s Office said Friday.

Power operations around the state have been broken into recently. In late May, the state formed a task force to focus on the theft of copper because it has risen in value, making it the target of thieves who break into vacant homes or businesses where the metal may be present.

Earlier this month, eight people were charged in connection with stealing as much as $400,000 in copper wiring during a three-month period from Lincoln to Island Falls.

Months earlier, officials from Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. and law enforcement officials went public with news of a burglary at those facilities.

On May 12, burglars broke into four Bangor Hydro-Electric power substations in Chester, a burglary that prompted a brief shutdown of the state’s power link to Canada and reduced power to some major customers to allow for repairs. Since then, a CMP facility in Farmington was broken into and there have been reports of copper thefts in Damariscotta, Portland and New Hampshire, according to court documents.

Investigators had been focusing on the brothers.

The two brothers also were found at the Gardner chip plant, near the Chester facility, on Sept. 14 as police investigated an alarm that went off at the Chester Beaver. A state police dog followed a scent track to a car owned by Jonathan Ladd and then to both brothers, who claimed they were looking for marijuana plants that reportedly were growing outside the chip plant.

The case against the two brothers is expected to go to a grand jury and Roberts said Friday that his office is still reviewing the case and that more charges could be filed against the pair and more suspects could be charged.

Ricky Ladd was released at court on Thursday on an unsecured bail of $2,500 while his brother remained at Penobscot County Jail on a probation hold.

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