Cortland (WSYR-TV) – Thanks to quick police work and some not-so-smart thieves, $70,000 worth of stolen property has been recovered in the City of Cortland.
Thomas Brady, 18, Todd Brady, 22, and John Depietro, 31, are charged with grand larceny and burglary. Police say they broke into a fenced-in area near Cortland Junior Senior High School on November 15 and took tools, copper, brass, and plumbing fixtures.
Cortland City Schools Superintendent Laurence Spring found himself reviewing security Friday, after the goods disappeared from school grounds where crews are undertaking a $42 million renovation project.
“We've got a lot of plumbing work going on, we've got a lot of electrical work going on, a lot of heating and ventilation, air movement systems," Spring explained.
All of the construction materials and tools are secured just outside of the school at the end of the day. Investigators say the suspects cut the lock on the fence and then cut five locks on metal storage units to get their hands on the valuables.
They scored big, but they didn’t get far.
“We have contacts throughout the county and surrounding counties of different recycling plants and junkyards, and we started the inquiry,” Cortland City Police Chief Michael Catalano said.
Just five minutes from the crime scene, investigators found nearly 1,000 pounds of copper and brass sold to a local recycler. Information there led police to the suspects and nearly everything else.
“I think we got lucky and were able to locate everything in one location,” Chief Catalano continued.
The investigation is ongoing. Police anticipate additional arrests will be made. Tools were confiscated that may be related to other thefts.
Anyone with information on this incident or related thefts should call (607) 753-3001.