By Neil H. Dempsey
---- — PEABODY — Police say two men were arrested on multiple charges Tuesday after they stole $500 in copper valves from the fire suppression system of a property on Pulaski Street.
Jeffrey K. Knorr Jr., 25, of 14 Abbott St., Salem, was arrested on charges of larceny over $250, wanton destruction of property under $250, trespassing and possession of a burglarious instrument.
Branden Kenniston, 24, of 22 Walker Road, Peabody, was arrested on charges of larceny over $250, wanton destruction of property under $250, disorderly conduct, trespassing and possession of a burglarious instrument.
A 2:16 p.m. report that two 20-year-old white males were stealing copper brought police to Webster Industries at 58 Pulaski St., according to the incident log.
Lt. Arthur Yeo said an employee at the facility told police he showed up and found a tan minivan parked by a fence — the van soon took off. There were three people inside, including a 45-year-old woman and a girl and boy.
After the van left, the man went over to investigate the area where it had been parked and happened upon two men trying to dismantle equipment in an enclosed space where a water tower for the facility’s fire suppression system was stored, Yeo said.
One of the men was hitting a Fire Department connection with a 4-foot crowbar when the employee happened upon them, he said.
When confronted, the men walked away, apparently leaving a pair of broken pliers at the scene, Yeo said. They exited the property via a path into the woods, and the man called police.
Officers searched the area and eventually located the suspects on Endicott Street. The crowbar was found near the scene of the crime.
Three 2.5-inch Powhatan copper valves — total value $513 — had disappeared from the property during the incident, but they were not located on the suspects or during the search of the vicinity, Yeo said.
The two men reportedly denied the theft and told police they had been searching for scrap metal in the woods.