By now, accounts of thefts of electrical wire have become fairly routine. Less common are thefts such as one reported Saturday in Montgomery County: Police said it was the utility poles that were taken.
The five metal poles, said to have a total value of $25,000, were taken from a construction site in the Rockville area under cover of darkness. But the size of the haul presented the thieves with a problem, and that apparently helped lead to three arrests, according to the county police.
The poles were too long for the box truck the thieves were using. They jutted out the back and prevented the vehicle’s door from fully closing.
Police said the poles were taken from a Paradigm Cos. construction site in the 9400 block of Key West Avenue. The site was protected by two fences, the police said.
Officers were called about 1:40 a.m. to a parking lot in the 2600 block of Research Boulevard, within a few hundred yards of the site of the theft. Someone had seen the poles being placed in the truck and, wondering about the legality of it all, called the police.
When police arrived, they spotted a minivan backing up to the box truck. As officers began questioning the minivan’s driver, they saw three people wearing gloves and dark clothing flee from near the box truck. They were apprehended nearby.
Police said Marvin W. Frazier, 33, of Whitechurch Circle in Germantown was arrested and charged with second-degree burglary, fourth-degree burglary and felony theft. The same charges were placed against a 13-year-old and a 15-year-old, police said. The juveniles were released to the custody of a parent.
The minivan driver was not charged. Police said she had been called to pick up the three after they recognized that the poles sticking out of the truck at night would draw attention.
Capt. Paul Starks, the county police spokesman, said that they apparently planned to leave the poles in the truck and return for them in daylight, when driving with them would attract less attention.
Starks said detectives theorized that the poles had been taken to sell as scrap metal.
It was not immediately clear how long the poles were or how much they weighed. Also unclear was how the construction site was entered.
The site is west of Interstate 270, and the poles carried signs for the interstate, police said.