Man accused of stealing, dragging generator
ELKINS — A Mill Creek man is behind bars after allegedly stealing and dragging away a generator from a Frontier Communications building, officials said.
Bumper Paul Armstrong, 41, was charged with breaking and entering. He is being held in Tygart Valley Regional Jail on a cash-only $2,000 bond, set by Randolph County Magistrate Tracy Harper.
According to the criminal complaint, filed by Randolph County Sheriff Z.T. Pingley, he was dispatched at 4:45 a.m. Friday on a suspicious person call. A person, wearing a ski mask and a black hoodie, was reportedly seen “pulling a generator covered by a white garbage bag and appeared to be out of breath” on Conrad Street in Mill Creek.
Pingley wrote that he “observed fresh tire tracks in the snow that match those of a generator on wheels at 91 Conrad Street,” the complaint states. “I followed these tracks to a camper on the property. There was a blanket, trash bag and other items concealing an orange and black Generac GP Series 5500 generator.”
Pingley observed “a motion sensor on the front door that was already activated prior to me walking up,” according to the police report. “I could hear movement in the camper and attempted to make contact with the occupants.”
No one answered or came to the door, Pingley wrote, and several other officers arrived at the scene and began to investigate also. Pingley noticed the generator had a label reading “MC-9” which led officers to the Frontier Communications building on Woody Simmons Drive in Mill Creek. A side panel in the building had been removed, and “there were generator tire marks and boot marks coming from the building.”
Pingley announced that he would be “forcing entry into the camper if the individuals did not come out,” the complaint states. Armstrong and a woman came out of the camper. The woman gave police a statement saying Armstrong had been gone “for about an hour” and had “only just returned and told her to not say a word” when Pingley began knocking on the door.
Inside the camper officers found “a black hoodie with a black mask” and “boots on the ground that were wet,” according to the police report. The boots were taken to the Frontier Communications building and officers determined they “were a match to the boot prints at that location.”
Police also found inside the camper a “small amount of a crystal white substance,” the complaint states. The woman allegedly told police the substance was methamphetamine and that it belonged to Armstrong.
If convicted of the charge, Armstrong could be sentenced to one to 10 years in the state penitentiary.