Niagara Gazette

March 23, 2014

Police catch scrappers who dropped 500 pounds of aluminum wire on South Transit Road in Lockport

Staff Reports
Niagara Gazette

Niagara County Sheriff's deputies were called to the 5600 block of South Transit Road about 7 p.m. Saturday where they found about 500 pounds of aluminum wire in the roadway.

Two witnesses told deputies they saw two men climb the fence of the Super Walmart construction site, take the wire and load it into the back of a pickup truck. The witnesses followed the pickup onto South Transit Road where a large amount of the wire fell off the truck into the roadway. 

The witnesses told deputies they saw the pickup pull into the Charles Upson school parking lot on Beattie Road but lost track of the pickup after that.

Deputies searching the area found the pickup on Price Street and as they pulled up, saw two men unloading the rest of the aluminum wire from the pickup.

One of the men, Michael A. Palladino, 31, 51 Price St., told the deputy he works for one of the companies at the Walmart site and his boss told him it was ok to take the aluminum wire. 

The second man, Robert J. Trautwein, 57, 57 Price St., told deputies he came along to help Palladino. 

When asked if they realized they'd dropped the 500 pounds of wire onto South Transit, Trautwein replied they did but they were scared and just kept driving.

Deputies eventually made contact with Palladino's boss who said he had never given anyone permission to take anything from the work site.

Palladino and Trautwein were both charged with petit larceny and fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property. In addition, Trautwein, the driver, was charged with driving with an unsecured load and leaving material in the roadway.

Number One Towing was called in to get the aluminum wire off the road and bring it back to the work site.