LEE -- Two local men already charged with stealing scrap metal multiple times were arrested on Friday after they allegedly were caught red-handed taking cast iron from a dormant factory.

John A. Heath, 52, and Timothy J. Hammerle, 47, were caught outside the old wood-frame factory about 10 a.m. by Police Chief Jeffrey Roosa and two Lee police officers, Stephanie Burdick and Ryan Lucy.

The police were acting on a tip from a resident about fresh footprints leading into the vacant Mountain Mill on Forest Street.

"As I pulled up in my cruiser, they were loading scrap metal in a car," Roosa said. "They were surprised to see us."

The pair allegedly were taking cast iron parts from the mill belonging to the Lake May Power Co., according to signs posted on the building. The Lee residents were arrested and charged with breaking and entering, larceny, malicious destruction of property and having burglary tools.

They are being held on $5,000 bail each until they are arraigned Monday in Southern Berkshire District Court.

A court clerk magistrate Friday afternoon invoked the bail as the suspects already face charges in connection with 10 other similar crimes since early September, according to Roosa. He noted Heath and Hammerle had been free on personal recognizance pending the outcome of the prior cases against them.

The two are accused of breaking into mostly vacant buildings, including the Columbia Mill, taking a variety of valuable metal, such as copper.


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The Mountain Mill break-in remains under investigation, led by Lee police officer Adrian Kohlenberger.

To reach Dick Lindsay:
rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6233.

@BE_DLindsay