Two Sanford men are in custody after a months-long investigation into more than 30 burglaries in which hundreds of pounds of copper were stolen from Central Maine Power Co. substations and vacant homes.

Jeremy Cook, 40, and Richard Stewart, 35 were arrested on multiple charges of burglary and theft. The men were cornered Wednesday morning at a vacant home in Springvale by officers from Sanford, the Maine State Police and the York County Sheriff’s Office. The officers tracked the car the suspects were using to the home, Sanford Detective Sgt. Matthew Jones said.

The home was put under surveillance before officers surrounded it around 11:30 a.m. Jones said the men were caught cutting out copper piping. One tried to flee, but surrendered once he realized he could not escape. The other gave up without a struggle.

Both men were taken to the York County Jail, where each is being held on $10,000 cash bail. They are scheduled to appear Friday in Biddeford District Court.

“They preyed on foreclosed (vacant) homes for the most part,” Jones said. “We believe that they worked together for months.”

The men broke into more than 30 homes and electrical substations in York County, Cumberland County and New Hampshire over several months, Jones said. Cook and Stewart removed copper and sold it to scrap yards and scrap metal dealers for as much as $2.27 a pound.

The investigation intensified last month after thieves broke into a CMP substation that is being built on River Street in the Springvale section of Sanford.

Jones said the thieves stole more than 100 pounds of thick gauge copper from the substation. Police then started monitoring business transactions at a scrap yard in Sanford and identified Cook and Stewart as suspects.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

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