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Cape man charged with stealing items from VA building construction site

By Staff | Nov 20, 2010

A Cape Coral man is accused of stealing copper piping and other items from the Veterans Administration construction site on Diplomat Parkway.
Richard Michael Ball, 32, of 212 S.E. Fourth Place, was arrested and charged Thursday with one count each of larceny theft, 300 or more but less than $5,000; larceny grand theft from posted construction site; criminal mischief property damage $1,000 or more; trespassing on a construction site; and resisting an officer/obstruct without violence.
Ball remained at the Lee County Jail on $12,500 bond as of Friday.
“The VA construction site has been a target of several burglaries in the past several weeks,” Connie Barron, a spokeswoman for the Cape police, said.
In early October, an estimated $40,000 worth of items were stolen from 10 companies that store tools and building materials at the construction site.
Detectives with the department’s Investigative Service Bureau Property Crimes Unit set up a burglary suppression operation Thursday evening after they received a tip that the site was going to be burglarized, according to a report. At about 8:30 p.m., police noticed a man just outside of the site.
Officers lost sight of the man, and about an hour later, a white van pulled up to the entrance of the site and a man exited the van, calling for “Rick.” The man then drove the van to the 1700 block of Corbett Road and backed it up into a field. Officers approached and detained the driver, officials reported.
Hearing movement in some bushes behind the van, police discovered Ball attempting to conceal himself. Officers also located nearby copper tubing that had been broken into various lengths, an orange extension cord and a small spool of wire, according to the report.
The items had a total estimated valued of $1,800.
Ball reportedly told police that he was “just up to no good getting copper.”
Ball denied stealing the copper, stating that he found it in the field. He said he intended to sell the copper at a scrap yard. Ball allegedly stated that the driver of the van was unaware that the copper was stolen. The man said he was only present because Ball had asked him to pick him up from work.
A representative of B&I Contractors identified the items as belonging to the company, according to the report. The tubing was too damaged to be used.
Barron reported that the investigation is continuing.
Ball has a court date scheduled for Dec. 20.