WATERVILLE — A Sidney man was arrested Thursday for allegedly shoplifting $139 worth of copper with his young child in tow.

An Aubuchon Hardware employee said he saw James Smith, 32, of 2617A West River Road, Sidney, grabbing handfuls of copper plumbing fittings and putting them inside a blue and green bag, which police later learned was the child’s diaper bag, police Sgt. Alan Main said Friday.

An employee at the Kennedy Memorial Drive store called police at 2:20 p.m. to say the shoplifter drove off in a GMC truck, and gave police the registration plate number, Main said.

Around the same time, police Officer Adam Sirois saw the truck, stopped it and found Smith and his 4-year-old son inside. Main arrived later and confronted Smith about the copper theft.

“Ultimately, he denied and denied,” Main said.

But police found about two dozen 1-inch copper fittings and some packaged tools, all with bar code stickers on them, in the truck, Main said. Smith was arrested and taken to Kennebec County jail in Augusta; bail was set at $500 cash. Main called the child’s mother to pick him up.

Deputy police Chief Charles Rumsey said police are also suspicious of additional copper found inside the truck, including pieces in 3-foot lengths and wire.

“We suspect we have identified where some of it came from,” Rumsey said. “Additional charges are likely.”

Smith was charged with theft by unauthorized taking or transfer, violation of condition of release and a probation hold. He is scheduled to appear in Waterville District Court July 3, Main said.

He was convicted in January 2009 of theft by deception, Main said.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

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