EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

August 17, 2011

Man caught in National Grid wire theft attempt

By Jim Patten

NORTH ANDOVER — One man was arrested and police are seeking another in the theft of copper wire from the National Grid yard on Turnpike Street early yesterday morning.

Police Chief Paul Gallagher said National Grid security officials called police about 1:48 a.m. to report they were watching live video surveillance of a man with wire over his shoulder, attempting to leave the property, and a second person standing by a spool of wire, cutting lengths of wire from the spool.

Gallagher said Detective Robert Barter and Officers William Brush, Thomas Driscoll, Michael Gilligan and Sgt. Chuck Gray with his dog Kyzer were sent to the scene.

Gallagher said Kyzer followed a trail to a hole cut in the perimeter fence around the National Grid facility and to a New Hampshire-registered 2002 Ford Explorer parked nearby.

Gallagher said the wire, cut into four or five-foot lengths was found near the hole in the fence. Gallagher said officers kept watch on the SUV, and minutes later a man walked up carrying a can of gas.

The man, identified as Matthew Perrotti, 21, of Tyngsboro, told police he had walked to the Hess Station about four miles away and bought 75 cents worth of gas for the Explorer.

When officers checked the gas station there had been no customer who purchased gasoline in that amount, Gallagher said.

Perrotti was arrested and charged with trespassing, breaking and entering in the nighttime with intent to commit a felony, and attempting to commit a crime.

The second man observed on the live security video by National Grid officials apparently was able to escape and is still being sought by police, Gallagher said.

The National Grid facility at 1101 Turnpike St., has been the target of wire thieves on numerous occasions in the past, but this is the first time live video surveillance was used to make an arrest of someone attempting to steal wire, police said.