06/29/11 — Metal thefts causing problems around city

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Metal thefts causing problems around city

By Gary Popp
Published in News on June 29, 2011 1:46 PM

A recent rash of unusual thefts -- thieves pulling metal off the outside of buildings -- is causing problems for several local groups and businesses.

On June 23, Goldsboro police were dispatched to Eden Place between Goldsboro Country Club and Goldsboro Municipal Golf Course in reference to a suspicious vehicle. When officers arrived, they found a Ford Econoline van and downspouts nearby on the ground, but no suspects.

Grace Olivia Creech, a bookkeeper for Goldsboro County Club, 1501 S. Slocumb St., said 20 downspouts, with a listed value of $5,000, were illegally removed from the building sometime the night of June 22.

"All the downspouts are damaged and bent. They can't be used," said Ms. Creech.

Ms. Creech said the downspouts were original to the building, making them more than 60 years old.

"They had been up since the building was built in 1948," Ms. Creech said. "It is a shame they messed them up."

But the country club was not the only place targeted for metal theft last week.

The Wayne County Sheriff's Office filed a report for larceny at Grantham Woodmen of the World lodge No. 481 on U.S. 13 South.

Sheriff's deputies reported $3,500 in stolen metal components of an air conditioner unit at the Grantham Woodmen of the World on U.S. 13 South between June 17 and June 22.

Woodmen Lodge President John Crawford said his organization was not prepared for the cost of replacing the unit.

"It is going to be expense to replace it. It is problem to come up with the money because we are a nonprofit and don't have a lot of money to spend on things like that," Crawford said. "Repair is not an option. It is damaged beyond repair.

Crawford said he has received an estimate of $4,800 for a new unit.

Crawford added he expects his organization will have to spend more than $5,000 it installs surveillance equipment or an alarm system.

The organization owns the building and is responsible for paying for a new unit. Crawford is hoping insurance will help cover the expenses, but that they might have to cut down on their community projects.

In a third recent incident, Goldsboro police reported $12,000 in damages to three air conditioning units, including $6,000 in stolen components, at the downtown Goldsboro Moose Lodge, 800 Mulberry Street, sometime between June 17 and June 22.

The building is owned by Cox Construction and Properties who declined to comment on the theft.

Of the three incidents, the only arrest has come when William Phillip Kastner turned himself in on June 24 on charges of felony larceny and damage to property.

The 20-year-old East Pine Street resident has since been released on a $2,500 unsecured bond.

The charges against Kastner stem from his alleged involvement in the removal of downspouts from the Goldsboro Country Club.