Friday, March 13, 2015

$1 million worth of vintage Pratt & Whitney engine parts stolen in Wallingford, Connecticut

 Frank Westervelt, 45, is accused of stealing more than $1 million worth of vintage Pratt & Whitney aircraft parts from a Wallingford facility.
Wallingford Police Department

WALLINGFORD — A New Haven man faces felony charges after police said he sold and scrapped at least $500,000 worth of vintage aircraft parts that were intended for museums. A local organization estimates $1 million worth of vintage parts are missing from its Wallingford location.

Frank Westervelt, 45, of 174 Howard Ave., New Haven, was arrested last Friday and charged with felony first-degree larceny by ongoing scheme, two counts of third-degree burglary, first-degree criminal mischief, and possession of burglary tools.

Police were actively investigating the theft of “high dollar irreplaceable vintage Pratt and Whitney jet engine parts” that were reported stolen from the Wallingford Business Park on Nov. 18, police spokesman Lt. Marc Mikulski, said. The parts are owned by Connecticut Corsair, a non-profit educational organization, Mikulski said. Connecticut Corsair sponsors STEM programs at high schools and colleges, and collects, stores, refurbishes and builds displays for students studying engineering and aerospace, Mikulski said. Connecticut Corsaid also donates items to museums.

One of the items reported stolen was set to be donated to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., Mikulski said. Connecticut Corsaid estimated that over $1 million worth of vintage aircraft parts including gearboxes, jet engine stators, vanes, engine cases, combustion chambers and a forklift were stolen.

On January 7 the property manager at the Wallingford Business Park at 718 North Colony Road reported that someone had stolen about 300 feet of copper piping from one of the units, Mikulski said. The piping’s value was estimated to be $2,000.

Detectives have accounted for about $500,000 worth of the stolen aircraft parts. Police developed probable cause to believe Westervelt sold the aircraft parts to a New Haven scrap dealer for a fraction of what they were worth, Mikulski said.

Anyone with information related to this case is asked to call the detective division at (203) 294-2845. The case is ongoing, Mikulski said.


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