ELK COUNTY, Pa (WTAJ) — A McKean County man is facing a slew of burglary and theft charges after being accused of stealing scrap from multiple facilities.
Nicholas White, 23, of Eldred, was arrested in New York in April 2022 and brought back to Pennsylvania to face the theft charges. According to Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) out of Ridgway approximately $42,894 in scrap was stolen.
On March 15, 2022, just before 8 a.m. officers were contacted about multiple items missing from multiple facilities that Resources Preservation Inc. owns. Police learned that four locations throughout Highland Township, Elk County, had been burglarized, according to the charges filed.
The locations included the Weaver plant, which contained five steel buildings, the Highland facility, which also held five steel buildings, the Lamont facility, which has three steel buildings and the Horton facility, which has five steel buildings.
An employee for the company first noticed that items were missing from the Highland facility and contacted a manager. That manager later went to all four facilities and determined that 19 fluid heads, 12 large electric motors, 12 transformers and copper were taken from the sites, police noted in the criminal complaint.
The manager had told police he’d not been at any of the facilities since around Thanksgiving in 2021. According to the affidavit, the manager told troopers that it probably would have taken a long time to move everything due to the size and quantity of the items.
According to court documents, the manager estimated a fluid head weight between 500-600 pounds each. He also estimated replacing the equipment would cost $500,000 as some of the parts that were taken are no longer made.
A Foresenic Service Unit was contacted by PSP to photograph the locations, along with any evidence that was found at the locations. Budweiser and Red Bull cans were found at all locations, along with chocolate milk containers, police noted in the charges filed. Police also found a makeshift dog bowl with dog food still in it at one of the facilities.
While investigating, troopers were notified by a Resources Preservation Inc. employee that he spotted a fluid head on a pallet that looked like it had been through a fire at the Metalico of Bradford, police noted in the filed charges.
On March 16, 2022, a mechanic for Resources Preservation Inc. and troopers went to Metalico, where the mechanic confirmed that was one of the fluid heads on their plumps. Police learned that White and a New York man had sold the fluid head to Metalico and had sold various other scrap items there, according to court documents.
The following day, Metalico notified troopers that the New York man was there trying to sell scrap. Troopers responded and arrested him, as he had outstanding warrants, according to the affidavit.
While speaking with police the New York Man said he’d been working with White and that White was the “brains/mastermind” behind the project. The man told police that White would take him to these locations to get things from buildings, police noted in the charges filed.
He reportedly admitted to police that he and White had been taking apart the fluid heads, however, he was told by White that the owner of the facility was in prison and “it would be doing them a favor” by taking the scrap, according to the criminal complaint.
He claimed that two other men went to the facilities with him and White to help, according to charges filed. The New York man added that sometimes White would also bring his dog, a pit bull, along and that they had sold the scraps to other places than Metalico.
One of the men the New Yorker named met with Troopers in April 2022, claiming that they did allow White to use his car multiple times in January 2022. The man said he eventually asked White where he’d been taking the car to which White said “Elk County.”
White is facing 28 felony charges including four felony burglary charges along with multiple felony trespassing, criminal mischief; damaging property, receiving stolen property, theft of secondary metal, theft by the unlawful movable property, and conspiracy; theft of secondary metal.
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White was arraigned on March 22 and is behind bars in Elk County Prison after failing to post $100,000 bail. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 5.
The New York man has not been arraigned yet but has identical charges to White, however, is also facing drug charges.