4 Indicted Following Aberdeen Proving Ground Metal Theft
Four men allegedly stole government property in the form of copper and aluminum.
Four men were recently arrested and accused of theft of government property at Aberdeen Proving Ground.
The indictments were announced by Rod J. Rosenstein, United States Attorney for the District of Maryland, in a statement Friday.
Timothy J. Bittner, 52, of Bel Air, Robert W. Reynolds, 29, of Felton, PA, and Steven M. Coale, 33, of North East, were charged in one indictment with conspiracy to steal and theft of government property. The indictment covered copper wire worth approximately $87,000, according to the statement.
Ronald Phillips Baker, Sr., 62, of Havre de Grace, was also charged with theft of government property. The second indictment covered 2,700 pounds of aluminum worth more than $110,000, according to the statement.
Bittner was arrested Friday, according to the statement, with an initial court appearance scheduled for Friday afternoon. The other defendants are scheduled for initial appearances next week, officials stated.
The four defendants face up to 10 years in prison for theft of government property. The first indictment carries up to five years in prison for conspiracy to steal government property.
Bittner, Reynolds and Coale were electricians with APG's Directorate of Public Works, and between March and November 2011, they allegedly used their access to buildings in the Edgewood area of APG to steal copper fixtures and copper wire, according to a statement.
Investigators believe the men rented a storage space and stripped the insulation from the wire, increasing the price of the copper, which they ultimately sold to recyclers in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Delaware for $87,000, according to a release.
According to a release, Baker operated a patrol boat on the Chesapeake Bay and on April 23, 2012, accessed fabricated aluminum outriggers weighing 2,740 pounds. From September 2010 through April 2012, Baker allegedly stole 27,000 pounds of aluminum, the indictment stated.
"The indictments should send a strong message that this type of egregious behavior—allegations of theft while supposedly working on the Government clock, to include even stripping active copper wire from an APG building—will not be tolerated," Robert Craig, Special Agent in Charge for the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Mid-Atlantic Field Office, said in a statement.