HAGERSTOWN — Automatic-teller receipts at the scene of scrap-metal thefts from a Hagerstown business led Maryland State Police to a West Virginia man who pleaded guilty to theft Monday in Washington County Circuit Court.
Curtis Jeffery Walker, 26, of 2642 McCoys Ferry Road, Hedgesville, W.Va., pleaded guilty to theft scheme under $1,000 before Judge John H. McDowell. Walker received probation before judgment, meaning he will have the guilty plea removed from his record if he successfully completes probation.
The thefts, primarily of water heaters, occurred on seven occasions between May 22, 2010, and March 6, 2011, the application for statement of charges said. More than 15 water heaters were taken from the lot of Fred’s Plumbing and Heating, 15142 National Pike, during that time, the document said.
Video surveillance showed that a man in a maroon pickup truck was taking water heaters, usually between 11 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. on the nights in question.
The victim found two ATM receipts on the ground the day after a Dec. 15, 2010, theft of two water heaters, the charging document said. Investigators subpoenaed cardholder information and traced it to Walker, who also owned a maroon pickup, the document said.
Police discovered that, on five occasions, Walker sold scrap water heaters and appliances to a scrap dealer in Martinsburg, W.Va., within days of five of the thefts from Fred’s Plumbing and Heating, the charging document said.
When interviewed by police, Walker admitted he took about 20 water heaters and a cast-iron tub from the plumbing business, the charging document said.
“He thought, in his mind, he was doing the owner a favor by cleaning up his lot,” Assistant State’s Attorney Michele Hansen told McDowell, reading from the statement of charges.
In exchange for the plea agreement, eight theft charges were dismissed, court records said.
McDowell ordered Walker to pay $650 in restitution and to return the cast-iron tub.