LENOX - A Lenox man accused of trying to steal copper piping on Thanksgiving night is being held for up to 60 days without the right to bail because of an open case - which also involved the theft of copper.
Steven M. Winters, 30, of the Berkshire Mobile Home Park at 405 Pittsfield Road, allegedly was caught in the act of trying to steal piping from a vacant home last Thursday, according to Lenox Police Chief Stephen O'Brien.
He was ordered held on $5,000 cash bail over the holiday weekend following his arraignment on Friday in Central Berkshire District Court. But during a pretrial hearing on Monday in Southern Berkshire District Court, Judge Philip Beattie revoked bail set on a September charge of receiving stolen property worth over $250.
In that case, Winters was charged in connection with the theft of copper piping from the roof of the vacant former Price Chopper store at the Center in Lenox, which now houses a new Price Chopper and other businesses.
On Thanksgiving night, Lenox officers Sean Ward and William Fuore, along with the Lee police K- 9 unit headed by officer Craig DeSantis, responded at about 9 p.m. to reports that a break-in was in progress at a vacant house behind the Knights Inn on Pittsfield Road (Routes 7 & 20), O'Brien said.
Upon arriving, they found fresh footprints in the snow and a section of plywood had been removed that had secured the basement door. Upon entering the building, the officers confronted and then arrestedWinters, O'Brien said.
Two sections of copper piping had been removed from the cellar's ceiling, according to the police report.
Winters was booked at the Lenox police station, where he remained until his arraignment on Friday at Central Berkshire District Court, where $5,000 cash bail was set on three felony charges - breaking and entering in the nighttime with the intent to commit a felony, larceny from a building, and possession of burglary tools.
Winters was held at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction over the weekend and was returned there on Monday following his court date in Great Barrington.
Thefts of copper piping or wiring have become frequent in vacant buildings and on sites of new construction, the police chief noted.
The value of copper has soared in recent years, from 60 cents a pound in 2002 to $3.60 a pound on Monday at the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Last month, six suspects were arrested by Massachusetts State Police on charges of stealing $38,000 worth of copper wire from the Hoosac Wind Project atop Bakke Mountain in the town of Florida. Three were from Pittsfield, two from Adams and one from Northampton.
State police investigators from the Cheshire barracks said the suspects dug under a security fence surrounding the wind farm facility and cut sections off two large spools of wire. They then allegedly tried to sell the copper wire to local scrap metal yards.
To contact Clarence Fanto: firstname.lastname@example.org or (413) 637-2551. On Twitter: @BE_cfanto