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Man Arrested for Stealing Copper Pipes from Vacant Home

For Immediate Release: 7/12/2011 11:44 am

Worcester, MA (July 12, 2011) - On Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at approximately 4:25 AM Worcester Police responded to the area of 576 Salisbury Street for a report of a residential breaking and entering in progress. While responding to that area, police dispatchers received additional information from a citizen informing them that a male suspect wearing all black clothing was carrying a bag full of copper piping from the front yard of 576 Salisbury Street, which is currently unoccupied and is actively listed for sale.

As Officer Michael Brunstetter was traveling towards that direction, he observed two vehicles traveling at a high rate of speed in the opposite direction. As the vehicles passed him a citizen in the second vehicle was hanging out the window and frantically waving to get the officers attention. The officer quickly stopped the second vehicle and the operator informed Officer Brunstetter that the operator of the first vehicle was just seen loading his car up with copper piping and leaving the home on Salisbury Street.

Officer Brunstetter called out to other responding police units of this information as well as the vehicle plate number and description and it was located and stopped within seconds on Salisbury Street just as it approached Park Avenue. As officers approached the vehicle they observed the operator, Mr. Rafael Muniz, 25 years old of 7 Laurel Street, Worcester, soaking wet. Located in the rear seat were 6 large plastic bags full of wet copper piping which was dripping water all inside of the vehicle.

Mr. Muniz was removed from his vehicle; police then observed on the passenger seat a screwdriver, pliers and a flashlight. In addition, a list of several home addresses was located; this list contained the Salisbury Street home. Mr. Muniz’s vehicle was towed from the scene. Meanwhile, officers spoke with the witnesses who had provided the vehicle's registration number and description and confirmed what they had seen. Officers responded to 576 Salisbury Street and observed that the basement was missing the copper piping and that the basement floor was completely soaked with water.

At this time Mr. Muniz was placed under arrest. He was charged with Willful and Malicious Vandalizing of Property, Breaking and Entering in the Nighttime With the Intent to Commit a Felony, Larceny From a Building, Possession of Burglarious Instruments, and Receiving Stolen Property Over the Value of $250.00.

The Worcester Police Detective Bureau was provided the list and will follow up on potential other thefts. Additional charges may be pending in the future. Mr. Muniz will be arraigned at the Worcester County District Courthouse on Tuesday, July 12, 2011.

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