Brothers Stole Downed CL&P Transformer: Cops

Enfield brother intended to sell a transformer that came down in storm.

By LeAnne Gendreau
|  Tuesday, Nov 8, 2011  |  Updated 7:29 PM EDT
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Brothers Stole CL&P Transformer: Cops

Richard and Robert Simmons have been arrested, accused of stealing a Connecticut Light & Power transformer.

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Two Enfield brothers accused of stealing a downed CL&P transformer to sell it for scrap metal were arrested and then decontaminated.

The transformer, which is worth about $4,000, came down on Green Valley Road in Enfield during the powerful pre-Halloween storm that left hundreds of thousands of state residents without power, according to state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Workers from Northeast Utilities, the parent company of Connecticut Light & Power, had repaired the transmission lines but left the transformer on the ground for a disposal contractor to pick up and dispose of, South Windsor police said.

However, the brothers came across the transformer on Tuesday, before the contractor picked it up. They put it in the back of their pickup and drove off, officials said.

When the men got to Nutmeg Avenue, the transformer tipped over in the back of the truck, spilling it into the truck bed. As the men stopped to turn it upright, 5 to 10 gallons of transformer oil spilled onto the ground, contaminated the men and dripped into the street, DEEP officials said.

As the men drove down Route 5 into South Windsor, a Northeast Utilities line crew saw their transformer in the back of the truck, stopped it, held the men and called police.

South Windsor police arrested the men, who have been identified as Richard Simmons, 47, Robert Simmons, 46, brothers who share a home in Enfield.

Robert Simmons told South Windsor police they planned to sell the scrap metal, police said.

Officers had the men take off their shoes and brought the brothers to the police station.

Their clothing was also contaminated, but police allowed them to keep their clothing until arriving at police headquarters, where they were decontaminated.

The brothers have been charged with third-degree larceny and additional charges.

CL&P hired Environmental Services to collect the waste and decontaminate the police cars, truck and roadway.

DEEP is working with CL&P to ensure the clean-up is completed.

The brothers were held on $1,000.

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