STARKS — A Hartland man who was employed as a security guard at an under-construction power station has been charged with stealing 300 pounds of copper wire, according to police.

Scott Loureiro, 19, was summoned to appear in court in January for the alleged theft of 19-strand copper wire from a Central Maine Power Co. substation.

The substation is under construction off Anson Road, according to Chief Deputy Dale Lancaster of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Department. Lancaster said 19-strand copper is used for grounding transformers.

Lancaster said Cpl. Michael Ross of the sheriff’s office worked with a private investigator from Merrill Investigations on the continuing problem of copper thefts from CMP construction sites.

Allison Keyte, at Kennebec Metal Recycling in Skowhegan, said the purchase price for copper tubing and wire is $2.70 per pound, making the value of the stolen copper about $800.

Sheriff’s Detective Lt. Carl Gottardi said copper theft continues to be a problem, not only in Somerset County, but in the surrounding counties as well. He said vacant homes and construction sites continue to be targets of copper thieves.

Gottardi said Mercer, Norridgewock and Smithfield recently have been targeted and scrap metal companies also have been working with police to try to track the sources of stolen metals.

Gottardi said the trend of copper theft appears to fluctuate with the prices of the metal paid on the scrap-metal market. The current price is down from a high of about $3.30 per pound last year.

Gottardi urged residents to report to local or state police any unusual activity at or near construction sites and homes that are vacant or where homeowners are away. The Sheriff’s Department’s anonymous tip line is 474-0230.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]