By Rachel Dove
NAUGATUCK - Thieves didn’t wait long after schools in Mingo County had recessed for the summer before committing a crime at Tug Valley High School, where the replacement cost of what was stolen is well over $6,000.
Mingo County Sheriff’s Department Lt. R.L. Hatfield told the Daily News that the theft of more than 35 feet of metal drainage grates in the parking area and in other locations on the school grounds occurred at approximately 1:15 p.m. on June 14. Video surveillance footage was viewed by the police and two male subjects, one of them positively identified as Gary Butterbach, 46, of Williamson, was seen committing the crime.
Butterbach, who is no stranger to law enforcement, and his unidentified accomplice, are said to have borrowed a vehicle from a female acquaintance, then proceeded to transport the stolen goods across state lines into Kentucky, where they sold the grates for scrap iron to the owner of Wade’s Scrap Yard in Inez, Ky., for a $457 profit. Hatfield said the estimated cost obtained by the Mingo County Board of Education for replacing the grates will be $6,473.75.
The investigation by the sheriff’s department continues as the deputy tries to establish the identity of the second male. Arrest warrants have been obtained in Mingo County Magistrate Court for Butterbach, but so far he has continued to elude police. Hatfield said that, although the defendant always uses a Williamson address, he is believed to be staying in the Warfield, Ky., area of Martin County.
If you have information concerning the whereabouts of Butterbach or the identity of his accomplice, you are asked to contact the sheriff’s department at 304-235-0300. You may remain anonymous if you wish. Investigators are only interested in what you know concerning this crime.