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2 Aberdeen Proving Ground Employees Plead Guilty To Stealing Tons Of Metal

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Federal prosecutors say two employees at Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) have pleaded guilty to stealing several tons of aluminum and copper wire from several locations and buildings at the site.

Authorities say Ronald Phillips Baker Sr., 62, of Havre de Grace, has agreed to pay $25,732.38 in restitution. According to his plea agreement, Baker, who was a captain of a patrol boat on the Chesapeake Bay, stole 27,496 lbs. of aluminum and other metals by using his security clearance that allowed him access to restricted sections of APG. Baker sold the metal for $14,316.70 to recyclers.

The plea agreement adds that Baker also stole 2,740 lbs. of fabricated aluminum outriggers that were used to test mine-resistent ambush-protected vehicles for the military. Baker sold the outriggers to a local scrap dealer for $1,510 from whom they were later recovered. The government says the outriggers are worth $112,500.

Documents also reveal that in a separate scheme, thirty-four-year-old Steven M. Coale of North East, an electrician with APG’s Department of Public Works, stole five tons of copper wire along with two of his co-workers from March 2011 to November 2011. The three men sold the copper to metal recyclers in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Delaware and divided the money among themselves. The two other men had previously plead guilty and are scheduled to be sentenced in October.

Coale also worked independently when he stole 126 lbs. of aluminum wire and sold it on October 29, 2011. Coale agreed to forfeit between $33,988 and $87,038 as part of his plea deal.

Baker and Coale face up to ten years and five years respectively for conspiracy to steal government property.

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