The May 2 federal trial of five men accused of stealing copper pipes and power tools from The Grove and Holly Bay work centers in the Daniel Boone National Forest has been continued as one of the defendants has asked to change his plea to guilty.
Christopher Carter, 35, was scheduled to go to trial along with Brandon Smith, Samuel Keith Miller and Michael Hatfield and Roger Woolum. However, U.S. District Court Judge Gregory VanTatenhove granted his motion for rearraignment, which was filed Thursday.
According to the indictment, which was returned Feb. 24, Carter is facing two counts of aiding and abetting the burglaries, which occurred on Jan. 10 and Jan. 15. In the third count in the indictment, Carter, Smith and Woolum are accused of aiding and abetting the plundering of government property.
The trio is accused of using a "saws-all tool" to cut out the copper pipes at the buildings and then stealing it.
After forest service employees discovered the first break in, Forest Service Special Agent Raymond A. Burkhart, III set up video surveillance equipment at the Grove Work Center.
According to an affidavit filed by Burkhart, the tape captured three men entering the building early in the morning and in the afternoon of Jan. 15.
"The subjects can be seen entering and leaving the building carrying out lengths of copper pipe," Burkhart stated, adding that he identified one of the suspects as Carter based on previous encounters with him in a law enforcement setting.
Law enforcement officers found Carter in Harlan County and took him into custody. At the time of Carter’s arrest, Burkhart stated that he was driving a Nissan truck that had recently been stolen from the Grove Work Center.
Carter is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in London at 1:30 p.m. on May 25 for the rearraignment.
In that order, VanTatenhove generally continued the trial for the remaining defendants. No new trial date has been set.