Police Arrest Two Men In Fairfield Hills Burglary/Theft
Police on Wednesday, March 13, arrested two Shelton men in connection with their alleged theft of scrap copper piping from the vacant but secured Cochran House, a decaying multistory 188,000-square-foot building at the town-owned Fairfield Hills complex, a former state psychiatric hospital.
About 4:23 pm, a concerned citizen reported to police that two men were in the process of stealing the piping from the building. Seven police responded to the call, becoming involved in the investigation of the burglary/theft incident, police said. Cochran House is located at 21 Mile Hill Road South, adjacent to several youth baseball fields.
Police Captain Christopher Vanghele said that only about five pounds of copper was stolen from the premises, adding that the current price for scrap copper is about $2.10 per pound.
Police surrounded the red-brick structure and apprehended one of the two men, but the other suspect had driven away from the area before they arrived.
Police found suspect, John Rodia, 49, walking away from the building, moving northward along Mile Hill Road South. Police arrested Rodia on charges of third-degree burglary, third-degree criminal mischief, and attempted sixth-degree larceny; Rodia was later released on $2,000 bail for arraignment on the charges on March 26 in Connecticut Superior Court in Danbury.
Rodia also was arrested on a warrant on second-degree failure to appear in court in Bridgeport regarding past motor vehicle charges. He was released on $500 bail on that charge for a March 27 appearance in court in Bridgeport.
Police said they learned the identity of the other suspect who had fled the crime scene in a vehicle. With the assistance of Shelton police, that man was apprehended at his residence.
At the Shelton police station, Newtown police later arrested John Marlin, 53, and transported him back to Newtown, where they booked him on charges of third-degree burglary, second-degree criminal trespassing, and sixth-degree larceny. Marlin was released on $1,000 bail for a March 26 court appearance in Danbury.
The town purchased the Fairfield Hills complex from the state in 2004 for $3.9 million. Since then, police have repeatedly responded to the core campus where trespassers, curiosity seekers, vandals, and thieves have been attracted to its vacant buildings.
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