An investigation into the theft of copper from a building lot in Mendon led police to a Rutland apartment where two men were arrested in connection with multiple burglaries in the area.
Nicholas T. Seck, 31, pleaded innocent in Rutland criminal court Friday to a felony count of burglary and misdemeanor offenses of possessing stolen property and violating his conditions of release. He remained in the Rutland jail Monday on $25,000 bail.
James E. Knox, 22, pleaded innocent Monday to a single charge of burglary and was released on court-ordered conditions.
The men are charged with separate incidents of burglary but they’re linked in police affidavits by statements from Knox, who told Vermont State Police and Rutland Police that he and Seck stole copper piping from the abandoned Dana School on the corner of East and East Center streets July 30 and a week earlier had worked together to steal a safe from a home on Thrall Avenue.
The charges against Seck stemmed from the break-in at the Dana School and the theft of 58 pounds of copper coil from a building lot on Ridge Road July 12, according to police affidavits.
In the case of the copper coil, state police Trooper Henry Alberico said police tracked the “extremely unique” coil to Hubbard Brothers garbage and rubbish removal in Clarendon, where Seck allegedly sold the scrap metal. Employees at Hubbard’s told police that Seck was a frequent visitor to the scrap yard where he had been depositing copper items since June 10. In 39 days, Seck sold $1,756 worth of copper, police said.
On Aug. 1, state police went to 2 East St. in Rutland to arrest Seck. After being told by a resident that he was inside, police searched the building but did not find him. After locating a basement, Alberico said police shouted down the stairs several times demanding that Seck come out. When he didn’t, a Rutland City Police canine was sent into the basement where the dog allegedly found Seck hiding under a pile of insulation.
During the search of the house, Rutland City Police Sgt. Matthew Prouty said police spoke with Knox, who informed them that he had helped Seck break into the vacant school building to cut copper piping which was later sold.
Knox told police that he didn’t cut any of the pipes in the school but he said he did help carry the copper out of the building, and he told police he earned about $500 from two break-ins at Dana.
Knox wasn’t charged with the school break-in but he was charged with a burglary on Thrall Avenue after he told police that he entered the home and helped remove a safe and some jewelry.
Knox, who was described as “very cooperative” by police, led investigators to the safe and told them that he felt badly about stealing it because it contained multiple personal documents. He also told police that he was addicted to heroin and is trying to overcome the addiction.
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