By Dave Rogers
---- — MERRIMAC — Two men accused of stealing $12,000 worth of copper spools from the town’s water department were arraigned yesterday in Newburyport District Court, a day after their arrest following a brief chase involving local and Amesbury police.
Nicklas Berger, 23, 31 Lisa Circle, Merrimac; and Ethan Therrien, 22, 30 Kimball Road, Amesbury; were charged with daytime breaking and entering for a felony, larceny from a building, resisting arrest and wanton destruction of property.
According to the report of Merrimac police officer Richard Holcroft, he received a tip Tuesday around 7:30 p.m. that the two suspects had stashed a large quantity of copper behind a Route 110 cemetery close to a Merrimac Water Department storage facility on Wallis Way.
At the scene, Holcroft, officer Robert Coppola and a State Police Crime Scene Unit discovered 21 spools of copper pipe used to install water service stashed behind a storage building.
As they were conducting an investigation of the scene, they saw light from a flashlight heading toward them. Police identified themselves and ordered the suspects to freeze and show their hands. Instead, both suspects took off. Coppola was able to catch up to Berger and handcuff him without incident.
During the chase, Holcroft’s pants were damaged beyond repair, according to court records.
Therrien managed to elude police long enough to make it to Berger’s Lisa Way residence. Waiting for him, however, were Amesbury police officers who apprehended him as he was pulling out of the driveway.
After booking at the Merrimac police station, Therrien admitted to breaking into the water department building, stealing the copper piping and then stashing the copper behind the structure.
Therrien also told police he and Berger had returned that night to move the copper closer to a road so they could transport it later in a vehicle.
Berger is due back in court Monday for a pretrial hearing. He is being held on $1,000 cash bail. Therrien is being held on $500 cash bail and is due back for a pretrial hearing on May 29.