LITCHFIELD — About 1 ton of aluminum wire earmarked for upgrades at the town’s fairgrounds has been stolen, and fair officials fear the burglar may not be a stranger.

“We have no idea what happened,” said David Byras Sr., a member of the Litchfield Fair’s board of directors.

Fair organizers had planned to use the heavy aluminum wire to upgrade the lines between buildings at the fairgrounds and to add lighting and outlets in the parking lot. The fairgrounds are off Plains Road near Hallowell Road.

The two large spools of wire were seen last inside a locked building on the fair grounds at the end of June. Both were discovered missing July 20.

“They probably weighed about 1,000 pounds apiece,” Byras said. “They were down on their flat side, so they had to tip them up. It would have taken more than one man to do it.”

Organizers called Maine State Police on July 27. A state police incident log indicates that trooper Kyle Pelletier investigated the theft. Police did not respond to a message seeking comment Tuesday.

Byras said fair officials waited several days after discovering the theft before calling police.

“We didn’t know if someone might have moved them,” he said. “We searched the grounds, and finally last week we called the police.”

Greg Cormier, who organizes the Blistered Fingers bluegrass festivals held at the fairgrounds, had bought the wire for the upgrades at the grounds as part of a bartered deal, fair president Charlie Smith said. The replacement value of each spool is about $1,500, he said.

“We’ve got insurance, but we’ve got a $1,000 deductible,” Byras said.

Smith is at a loss to explain how the theft occurred.

“I’m assuming they had plenty of bodies or there was a machine,” he said. “There’s no sign of anything. I think it was well planned.”

Perhaps more disturbing for Byras and Smith is the fact that there is no sign of forced entry. Byras hopes someone just forgot to lock the building, but Smith said that fails to explain how someone got through the locked front gate.

“There are a number of keys to the fairgrounds that the directors hold,” Smith said. “I’m really at a loss as to how this took place.”

Smith is searching for any explanation that would point away from someone directly or indirectly connected to the fair.

“I hate to think that, but it’s possible,” he said. “That’s the obvious question.”

Byras said other items have been stolen from the fairgrounds in the past, including an air compressor a few years ago. Someone once even removed the lower unit from an inboard/outboard boat motor.

“We’ve bought some cameras, but unfortunately we didn’t have the cameras going” at the time of the wire theft, Byras said.

Byras said organizers will go through with the planned upgrades, but doing so will take a financial toll.

“Everything we get goes back into building new buildings and improving the grounds,” Byras said. “It’s too bad. We all volunteer, and to have someone do this, it kind of hurts.”

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