When Morenci Chief of Police Larry Weeks received a report about the theft of expensive brass molds from a local factory, he paid a visit to local scrap metal buyers.
On his fourth try, he found what he was after and an employee of Morenci’s Palm Plastics factory now faces larceny charges for taking nearly $90,000 worth of molds.
Matthew Jay Harsh, 24, of Washington St., Morenci, was arraigned June 25 for the theft and faces two counts of larceny $20,000 or more and one count of larceny $1,000 to $20,000.
Palm Plastics president Jeffrey Owen discovered 10 molds were missing from the factory in May. The specially-designed molds were created in Europe for a manufacturing process at the plastics plant.
The molds weighed about 50 pounds each and Weeks suspected they might have been sold for scrap due to the high prices for scrap metal.
A scrap buyer near Fayette remembered buying unusual looking items and told Weeks he paid about $90 for each one. He told Weeks the identity of the seller who was an employee at Palm.
Harsh confessed to taking the molds, but he told Weeks he didn’t believe they were of any value. He thought they were to be thrown out, although they were wrapped and stored inside the plant.
Weeks was told the molds were already melted down due to the time lag between the theft in April and the questioning of Harsh.
Harsh admitted to stealing six molds, Weeks said, but four additional molds were taken. Weeks is asking anyone with information about the theft to call the police station at 458-7104.