By Dave Rogers
---- — AMESBURY — A Haverhill man accused of stealing almost $200,000 worth of merchandise from his former employer admitted to police he broke into the Haverhill Road building so many times over a period of two months that he lost count, according to court records.
Steven Allen Bateman, 25, of 52 Moody, No. 1, was charged with 17 counts of nighttime breaking and entering, malicious destruction of property more than $250, larceny from a building and a previous warrant for a crime spree that lasted from September until November. Bateman is also likely to be charged with 17 counts of receiving stolen property by Haverhill police, according to Amesbury police Detective Sean Leary.
Bateman was arraigned yesterday at Newburyport District Court and is being held on $5,000 cash bail or $50,000 surety. Should he post bail, Bateman must remain drug and alcohol free pending his next court appearance scheduled for Jan. 21.
According to court records, Bateman, who worked at Designwerk Inc., located inside the Boston North Tech Park, stole aluminum casings used to cool electronic components earmarked for electric buses. Bateman would then sell the casings, worth $1,200 and weighing about 80 pounds each, to a Haverhill salvage yard. It is estimated Bateman stole $194,865 worth of aluminum casings from September to Nov. 11, before being caught.
During his interview with police, Leary asked Bateman how many times he broke into the building.
“He did not know how many times he broke in —- indicating possibly around 10 times,” Leary wrote in his report.
According to Leary’s report, police first got involved Nov. 22, when a Designwerk manager called police to report the theft of six aluminum casings. A video camera showed Bateman backing his truck against the building and then making six trips each time carrying a casing. Security footage also showed Bateman using a key to gain access to the plant, mostly in the early morning hours.
A manager told Leary he believed the thefts were being conducted by a former employee and mentioned that Bateman had walked off the job for unknown reasons on Oct. 29 after seven years. Police went to Bateman’s Haverhill apartment shortly thereafter, where he admitted to police he stole the six units, according to police. Police then issued a summons for Bateman to answer to the charges.
On Dec. 13, police received another call from a Designwerks manager who said a recent inventory check showed the company was missing 137 aluminum casings. Leary called Bateman, who admitted he took all the casings. Bateman turned himself over to police Saturday and was charged for the thefts along with a previous warrant out of Haverhill District Court for motor vehicle offenses, according to court records.
Asked why Bateman would steal the hefty casings and then sell them, Leary said he simply wanted the money.