NORTHBOROUGH, Mass. — A Westborough man and a Clinton man were arraigned in Westborough District Court on Wednesday on charges related to the string of copper thefts that occurred in Northborough and surrounding towns during the month of July.
Christopher Shaw, 31, of 33 Hopkinton Road, Westborough, and Keefe Morrison, 29, of 33 White Court, Apt. B, Clinton, were charged with four counts of conspiracy, four counts of defacing property, four counts of larceny from a building, four counts of possessing burglarious instruments and four counts of larceny over $250.
On July 27, Detective Jeffrey Noel of the Northborough Police Department visited Schritzer Scrap Metals in Worcester as part of his investigation of several break-ins that had occurred that month.
According to the police report filed in Westborough District Court, supervisor Mark Booth told Noel that he had seen Shaw come in several times in the weeks prior with copper piping and other copper products. Between July 10 and July 31, Shaw sold more than 2,000 pounds of copper for more than $5,000, according to Booth's records. Booth added that Shaw would arrive in a white Chevy Impala driven by someone else, and gave Noel the license number.
Court records show that Shaw was on probation at the time for breaking into a Northborough building on June 14.
Noel did an RMV checked on the Impala and discovered that Westborough police had spoken with the driver, Morrison, in the parking lot of the Route 9 Regal Cinema on July 26. Later that same day, police received a report of a break-in at 3 Longfellow Road in Northborough, less than a mile from where Morrison had been stopped. On July 30, Schnitzer Scrap Metal told police that Shaw had arrived with more pipes, the report said.
At that point, employees at Schnitzer Scrap Metal began to hold onto the copper that Shaw brought in. Examining the pieces, Noel observed that several sections matched up with a home at 409 Hudson St. in Northborough, the report said.
On Aug. 1, Noel tracked Morrison's car in Clinton for a time, noticing that it appeared to have a heavy load in the trunk. the report said. Again, Schnitzer Scrap Metal later reported that Shaw and Morrison had brought in a "huge load" of copper. The next day, state police obtained a warrant and installed a GPS device on Morrison's car.
Tracking the car's movements for about a week, police set up surveillance teams at several locations in Hudson where they believed the duo would strike. Police arrested Shaw and Morrison on Aug. 7 outside a vacant home at 149 Forest St. after witnessing them load copper into the car, the report said.
During a recorded interview with police, Morrison gave a list of the homes they had broken into, including one on Crawford Street, Northborough that had not been reported to police. Shaw, meanwhile, did not admit to breaking into 149 Forest St., though he told police "you did your homework," the report said.
Bail was set at $500 for both men, who are due back in court on Oct. 31.