Police arrested fired Innovative contractor in metal thefts as he waited at airport
Published: September 4, 2013
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ST. CROIX - A second person police believe has been contributing to island-wide thefts of copper and other metals made his initial court appearance in V.I. Superior Court during the weekend.
Paul Julius Nagy, 40, of California, appeared in Magistrate Court on Saturday morning and was advised of his rights on charges of grand larceny and selling, buying or possession of stolen property.
He is the second person arrested in connection with stolen equipment and supplies found at Francis Metal Shop during a law enforcement raid across the island Aug. 29.
The owner of the scrap metal company where police found thousands of dollars of stolen property appeared in Superior Court on Friday and maintained his innocence, saying he would never violate the law and did not know the merchandise was stolen.
Francisco Antonio Aguedo, 48, of Western Suburb was charged in two separate cases with the crimes of conversion of government property and buying and receiving stolen property.
He posted 10 percent of his $20,000 bail and is on pre-trial release pending the outcome of his case.
The task force conducted impromptu inspections of seven scrap metal businesses to determine whether they had violated any of the regulations in place by the V.I. Fire Service, the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs, the V.I. Waste Management Authority or the Department Planning and Natural Resources.
In her report supporting Nagy's arrest, V.I. Police Officer Andrea Claxton said that once the officers converged on Francis Metal Shop, they fanned out across the property, and different officers reported back finding items that appeared to be stolen.
She said that in different areas of the scrap metal yard, officers found damaged manhole covers, hard-line equipment, equalizers and a spool of coaxial cable that fit the descriptions of equipment stolen from Innovative and other equipment identified as missing from the Innovative warehouse. While police await the appraisals for some of the stolen equipment, other items were estimated to total $8,000 worth of equipment.
At the time of his arrest, Aguedo told police that he bought the items from a man he did not know and he did not have identification or contact information for the seller but said it was an individual who works for Innovative who brought it to his home, driving an Innovative van.
Aguedo told police he had video footage of the person who delivered the cable on Aug. 26, and Claxton said forensic officers took possession of those videos.
In her report supporting Nagy's arrest, Claxton said she contacted the president of a company who was doing contract work for Innovative, and he told police that Nagy was the only one of his workers who was assigned to drive an Innovative van.
The contractor said some of the Internet connectors and other equipment that was stolen and sold to Francis Metal Shop was stolen from his company.
The contractor said Nagy was fired from the company on Aug. 23 and was scheduled to leave the territory. He said when he called Nagy to return the van on Aug. 26, Nagy refused, saying that he would do it when he received his last check.
Claxton said police found Nagy at Rohlsen Airport on Friday, about 30 minutes before his flight was scheduled to depart, and arrested him. The surveillance video and a statement from Aguedo confirmed that Nagy was the person who was selling the stolen property, according to Claxton's report.
Bail for Nagy was set at $35,000.
In order to be placed on pre-trial release from Golden Grove Adult Correctional Facility, Nagy was ordered to post at least 10 percent of the bond, provide a suitable third-party custodian and a local address.
Nagy remains jailed unable to meet those conditions.
Police still are asking residents with information about illegal activities, such as cable and equipment theft, to report them to 911 or to the Crime Stoppers USVI confidential tip line at 1-800-222-8477.
- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.