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Woonsocket Police Arrest Two Scrapping Stolen Air Conditioners

Investigation of air conditioners' theft from Walmart leads to Johnston scrap yard, charges for four men.

 

Woonsocket Police investigating the April 24 theft of 30 air conditioners from the Diamond Hill WalMart building followed a Woonsocket man and Johnston man to a Johnston scrap yard Oct. 11, arresting them in possession of more than $1,600 in metal tables and items from the Broaster House Restaurant.

Woonsocket Public Information Officer Det. Jamie Paone said the Broaster House owners were unaware the items had been stolen until police discovered them. She said they were taken after they had been put out for Autumnfest.

The WalMart building at 1919 Diamond Hill Road has been vacant since the store moved over the line into North Smithfield in Sept. 2011. Police report WalMart estimates the cost of the stolen air conditioners as high as $500,000. 

Police arrested Larry Bates Sr., 52, of 1010 Hartford Ave. Johnston and Nathan Plante, 23, of 134 Rathbun St. Woonsocket at J&S Scrap, 36 Starr St., Johnston.

Bates was charged with two counts of conspiracy and larceny for the Walmart and Broaster House thefts, as well as possession of counterfeit bills. He is also in violation of his parole for an Aug. 28 theft of air conditioners from several northern RI businesses.

Plante was charged with one count of conspiracy and larceny for the Broaster House theft. 

Bates and Plante are being held without bail.

Paone said detectives learned of Bates and Plante's involvement while interviewing people on an unrelated case and began surveillance of the pair, following them to the Johnston scrap yard, where they were caught with the Broaster House's stolen property.

Police also charged Jesse Marinaro, 21, of 7 Whittlesey Rd. Johnston and Matthew Bruckschen, 27, of 134 Rathbun St. Woonsocket, charging them with one count of conspiracy and larceny each in connection to the WalMart theft. Both men were already at the ACI on unrelated charges at the time, Paone said.

Paone said the four were apparently working together to steal items from area businesses to be turned in as scrap metal at the Johnston business. 

Chris12 October 15, 2012 at 08:30 PM
We have endless supply of low-life in our communities. Wouldn't it be great if we could bring these jerks to a scrap dealer that specializes in "low-life scum" and get rid of them permanently. Good work WPD. Thank you
Woonsocket Rocket October 16, 2012 at 02:36 AM
Its rather sad when state of our economy forces its own citizens to resort to things like this to support themselves. Our Government needs to focus on the needs of its own citizens and not on those of the very same people who want us all dead! I bet dollars to doughnuts you see a rapid decline in crimes such as this if our economy was better.
Paradis October 16, 2012 at 11:53 AM
Bates Sr. had issues since he was a teen before he ever moved to Woonsocket.
English first October 16, 2012 at 12:39 PM
Probably all the refrigerant was let into the atmosphere also.
English first October 16, 2012 at 12:42 PM
You might be correct. Towns that have lower unemployment probably have less crime.
English first October 16, 2012 at 12:42 PM
He is listed as living in Johnston.
Still Hope October 16, 2012 at 09:43 PM
WTH? Did you people read where the ringleader is from Johnston? I bet you doughnuts to dollars that Johnston has less unemployment and a better economy than Woonsocket. Your broad assessment of socioeconomics as the primary force in crime is quite naive.
Jeff October 16, 2012 at 10:56 PM
anyone who justifies theft with the economy needs to take a look at their morals and values. Once again we have a "I'm entitled attitude". Not saying that crime and jobless is not related, but your dollars for doughnuts says they probably have drug and alcohol issues.
Paradis October 18, 2012 at 12:24 PM
My mistake. He grew up in Esmond. He's had issues since his teens.

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