Suspect in Manchester Church Copper Theft Arrested

After months of investigating, police have arrested a man accused of stealing copper from St. Mary’s Episcopal Church on Park Street in Manchester around Christmas last year.

Ryan Cottrill, 30, was arrested on three warrants Thursday and is suspected of stealing copper flashing and downsports, causing around $21,000 in damage.

Before identifying a suspect, police said a crook climbed on the church roof several times and stole the metal.

Now police said Cottrill is suspected of pilfering from the church on three occasions in December and January.

“Apparently it was a crime of opportunity,” Manchester police Capt. Christopher Davis said in January. “He saw there was value in the materials.”

Police say the thief climbed on the roof of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church multiple times to steal copper flashing and downspouts.

According to Rev. Paul Briggs, the damage allowed a wave or water to pour from the ceiling during a church service. Although the service continued, members of the congregation had to grab buckets and mops to clean the mess.

“It was like someone turned a hose on,” Briggs said.

In the week that followed, Manchester police were able to track down some of the copper at an East Hartford scrap metal dealer. Through receipts, they learned the thief made off with metal valued at $1,200.

Cottrill was arrested outside the East Hartford Police Department on Thursday and brought to the Manchester police department, where he was charged with first-degree failure to appear, third-degree larceny, first-degree criminal mischief, third-degree larceny, third-degree burglary, sixth-degree larceny and second-degree larceny.

Bond was set at $157,500 and Cottrill is due in court in Manchester today.

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