FRANKLIN – Police are crediting a local resident with helping them catch an alleged copper thief this week, and are asking the public to be watchful for suspicious people at vacant houses.
Eric Morin, 28, of Franklin, was arrested Tuesday on charges of burglary, criminal trespass, theft by unauthorized taking, and possession of burglary tools, according to Detective Sgt. Ralph Hale.
On Tuesday at 10:43 a.m., police were called to 24 Calef Hill Road for a report of a burglary in progress. The call came from a neighbor who reported that she observed a strange vehicle at her neighbor’s residence.
“The caller told our officers she confronted a suspicious man exiting her neighbor’s home, and when she confronted him, he told her the homeowner had hired him to do some yard work,” Hale said.
Police said the home has been vacant for a few months. They did not identify the neighbor at her request, he said.
The neighbor told police she saw some power tools and copper pipe sections inside Morin’s vehicle.
After Morin drove away, the neighbor went inside the home and found evidence of a break-in. Police later found that several sections of copper pipe were missing from the home.
Police issued an alert for Morin.
“The neighbor had taken down his license plate number and gave that to us, and that was of tremendous help in locating him,” Hale said.
As area police searched from Morin, Franklin police met with the homeowner and confirmed several sections of copper pipe had been removed from the basement and several power tools were missing.
At about 1:30 p.m. Franklin police received a tip from a local pawn shop owner who said Morin had just been in his store trying to sell some items.
Shortly thereafter, Northfield police stopped Morin’s car. Franklin officers responded and Morin was arrested. Police later recovered some of the stolen items, but not the copper.
Hale estimated the copper stolen would have brought less than $100 at a local metals-recycling shop. He wasn’t sure of the value of the other stolen items.
He urged residents to be vigilant when they see strangers in or near vacant houses.
“It’s a problem, particularly in vacant and for-sale houses, people should always report anything like this,” he said.
Anyone with information on this case or other criminal activity is encouraged to contact the Franklin Police Department at 934-2535 or report anonymously via the Concord Regional Crime Line at 226-3100.