by Jonathan Weaver
A trio of men who sold more than $200,000 in scrap material from an eastern Pennsylvania plant to a scrap yard in East Franklin Township three years ago was sentenced last week.
Before Court of Common Pleas Judge James Panchik, Craig Bailey, of Volant (Lawrence County), Darren Peterson, of Marion Center and David Peterson of Smicksburg were all sentenced to five years of probation for selling seven-strand aluminum clad wire and 6/1 wire at PJ Greco on Tarrtown Road.
All employees of Henkels and McCoy – an engineering and utility infrastructure contracting firm based in Blue Bell (Montgomery County) – the men all pled guilty to the misdemeanor charge of conspiracy of theft by unlawful taking as part of a plea agreement to nullify the remaining four felony allegations.
According to the original criminal affidavit, Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Joseph Zandarski was first informed of the internal investigation in July 2013 by a private investigator.
Employees were assigned to Pennsylvania Power and Light to dismantle infrastructure of the Sunbury-Datmaria Plant, and while Hankels and McCoy retained all rights to the materials deconstructed, the three employees allegedly conspired to sell the scrap copper and aluminum clad wire from April-December 2012.
For example, PJ Greco records show between April and May 2012, the three men received nearly $71,500 for the material in cash or checks.
Bailey, of Volant (Lawrence County), was originally arrested on charges of felony theft by deception, felony receiving stolen property and felony theft by failure to make the required disposition of funds received.
Represented by Attorney Jonathan Orie of Pittsburgh, Bailey testified that the allegations are true, and that the father of four children was sorry and accepted responsibility for his actions.
He told Judge Panchik that he believed the items would be thrown away.
Darren Peterson was superintendent of the project, and testified that the three never maliciously intended to hurt their previous employer.
Owner Ron Henkels testified that the three men violated the company’s trust and have been terminated. He said the company spent about $250,000 to investigate the crime and wanted justice to be served for all involved.
“We put a tremendous amount of trust in our field leadership – what the defendants did, they did it knowingly. They took the time and energy to bring that scrap all the way across the state,” Henkels testified.
About eight friends and family members of the defendants attended the sentencing court date.
Full restitution of $203,228.91 – split equally among the three men – was paid prior to sentencing.
The three men must also each perform 150 hours of community service as part of their sentence. Their representing attorneys said following the court appearance that they were pleased with the sentences and said their clients are glad the case is finished.