Two charged with stealing copper from construction site of new homeless services center

·1 min read

Aug. 16—Two Portland residents are facing multiple charges after allegedly stealing copper and tools from the construction site of the city's new homeless services center.

The suspects were first spotted by a man who told police he saw two people leaving the construction site at 654 Riverside St. just after 11 p.m. Monday. Officers responding to the call heard noises coming from a nearby section of the Portland Trails trail system and found Edward Demers, 42, and Chayne Markie, 23, pushing wheelbarrows loaded with copper from the construction site, Maj. Robert Martin said.

Soon after, an officer checking on nearby businesses found a pickup truck that belongs to Markie in the parking lot of Waste Management that had several battery-powered tools in the bed. Martin said police determined that the tools belong to the company working at the construction site.

Police estimated the value of the copper at $20,000 and the tools at $8,500.

Markie and Demers were arrested for burglary, felony theft, criminal mischief and refusal to submit to arrest. Markie also was charged with violating conditions of release. They were taken to Cumberland County Jail.

The city broke ground in March on the 208-bed homeless services center, which will cost up to $25 million and is expected to be complete next year. The facility will provide wraparound services, such as mental and public health services, substance abuse prevention, workforce training, meals and access to general assistance.

Portland has been planning for years to replace its current emergency shelter at Oxford Street, which the city leases and can serve about 150 people. The City Council in 2019 approved construction of the new center, located on vacant city-owned property.