Alleged scrap thieves caught

EAST LIVERPOOL – Two men were taken into custody, and one charged, after being found Tuesday afternoon inside the former YMCA building at 134 W. Fourth St., reportedly in the process of stealing scrap metal.

Charged with breaking and entering was Robert Barrett, 28, East Fifth Street, while his companion was not charged, although police indicated charges could be filed after conferring with the prosecutor.

After what was called “excellent police work” on the part of Detective Rob Smith, the two men were discovered inside the vacant building which is owned by former state Rep. Craig Newbold.

According to police, Smith was keeping tabs on Barrett during the day because he knew Barrett had been questioned by an earlier police shift about being around that area at 3 a.m.

Smith reported about 1 p.m. someone in the building and it was quickly surrounded by city police and officers from St. Clair and Liverpool townships.

“He could hear the radiators being pulled down the stairs,” Detective Don Fickes said of Smith.

As officers surrounded the building, Barrett and the other man came busting out a small door and found a host of officers waiting for them.

Although Barrett told officers he had permission to be inside, they spoke with a caretaker who refuted that claim. The other man indicated he believed from what Barrett told him that they had been given permission to be inside, and police said preliminary investigation indicated he was telling the truth.

Officers searched the building but found no one else inside.

Photos were taken of damage to the inside of the historic building officers said was caused by dragging the heavy radiators down the steps, gouging wood out of the interior stairs and chunks of marble from the lobby steps.