Two men are held in theft of scrap

CORTLAND – Two area men posing as a salvage team from a bank remained in Trumbull County Jail awaiting a Central District Court appearance Monday on charges stemming from a break-in at a vacant house where copper was being stripped from the building.

Gerald Kruest, 33, of White Oak Drive, Hubbard, and Johnny Root, 38, of West Middlesex, Pa., both pleaded innocent to charges of breaking and entering and obstruction of official business following their arrests last week.

Kruest, who faces an additional count of breaking and entering and possession of criminal tools, was being held on $75,000 bond. He and Root, who was being held on $20,000 bond, will appear Monday at preliminary hearings before Judge Thomas Campbell.

Cortland police Chief Tom Andrews said both men were picked up by officers at 170 Carolyn Ave., where a neighbor became suspicious of the men at the vacant house in the neighborhood.

Kruest originally told police he was doing salvage work for a bank that owned the property and his job called for replacing the copper pipe with PVC material.

After he was questioned by Detective Dave Morris, the paperwork Kruest was using was found to be false and actually was an old work order from a home in Warren.

Root was found in the basement of the home on Carolyn.