Missing scrap metal leads to arrest, multiple charges

Posted:  Thursday, August 10, 2017 - 11:00am

UNITY — A Unity man was arrested Aug. 5, following an investigation into scrap metal stolen from a Unity business in July.

Matthew Cowette, 32, has been charged with two counts of theft, and burglary as a result of the investigation, which began July 21, after the business owner reported the missing metal.

Waldo County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Daniel Thompson was assigned to investigate the case and learned that the type of metal missing wasn’t commonly used, according to Chief Jason Trundy.

The business, Nitro Trailers, builds snowmobile trailers with a specialized type of aluminum, and they recycle all of their scraps, Trundy said. The theft was reported after employees noticed metal they set aside was missing.

Thompson spoke with neighbors of the business, who provided information that led him to focus his investigation on a specific area resident.

The Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office checked a few local scrap metal dealers, ultimately locating the missing metal in Carmel.

After traveling to the location, Thompson determined the metal was the same type missing. The dealer who bought the scraps keeps identification records of suppliers, and named Cowette as the person who had sold him the metal, Trundy said.

Cowette reportedly returned to the scrap dealer later the same day with more scrap metal, a brand new battery, and brackets used by Nitro Trailers when they stack their trailers.

The battery, which had the manufacturing date on the top, was later connected with a different area garage, and resulted in Cowette being charged with burglary, and an additional count of theft, police said.

Cowette was arrested after being interviewed by Thompson. He denied involvement in the thefts, Trundy said.

The estimated value of the stolen property was $700.

Erica Thoms can be reached at news@penbaypilot.com