TAYLOR COUNTY—After being found in an old abandoned apartment building in March, a defendant has been formally charged with the crime.
Christopher Edward McCauley, labeled a passenger by police, has been charged with entering a building other than a dwelling, a felony.
According to the criminal complaint filed by Grafton Police Department patrolman Misty Nicholas, she received a message from a Grafton town official about an older van backed up to the gates of the old building of the box factory, March 21.
Upon arriving at the scene, Constable Nicholas located a Dodge Ram 1500, with expired registration and inspection. She noted in her report that the keys to the vehicle were still in the ignition.
As she approached the building, the officer noticed that one of the bay doors was open and raised about 16 to 18 inches off the ground. It was then that she saw a man, described by Nicholas as about 5ft 11in tall, weighing almost 150lbs, with a shaggy brown beard, inside the old factory.
According to the report, the officer saw the subject pulling large black cables toward the open bay door.
When told to stop what he was doing and get out to talk to Nicholas, the man turned and ran into the abandoned factory, out of sight of the officer. Due to the size of the structure, Nicholas called in reinforcements to sweep the location.
Taylor County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Randy Durrett and West Virginia State Police Corporal Loren Knotts assisted Nicholas in his search of the building, but the subject was not found at inside.
Nicholas then returned to the parked van, where she found clothing, a gym bag and several hand tools typically used for cutting into the bed of the truck.
She then turned her attention to the large cables from which she saw the male subject heading towards the door. Inside the building, the officer noted several severed wire strands containing copper, as well as two pairs of wire cutters that were handled by the suspect.
The report says Nicholas had the truck towed off the scene and obtained a search warrant for the vehicle.
While executing the warrant, the officer found a receipt for a local store and, after visiting the establishment, she was advised of the subject’s identification as Christopher Edward McCauley.
The identification was confirmed by a search of the call recording system used by the police.
The search of the vehicle also revealed items coated in a white powdery substance, in addition to a small white paper envelope secured with electrical tape containing the substance which the officer said was packaged in a manner consistent with fentanyl packaging.
Due to the belief that the powder was in fact fentanyl, it was sent to the West Virginia State Police forensic laboratory for drug identification.
Officers attempted to contact McCauley at a family member’s home, but were unsuccessful.
However, they were able to get in touch with representatives from the property of the old box factory and he revealed to officers that the wiring and plumbing lines inside the building had been cut and removed. He further stated that the suspect entered the building without permission.
During the search of the truck, it was revealed that the registration had been made in the name of a third party. When officers contacted the owner of the truck, he told police the suspect had taken possession of the vehicle, having purchased it for $100.
A deal had been made between the truck’s previous owner and McCauley to get the truck and title back, but the individual told police that when he woke up the next morning the truck was missing.
Nicholas noted in his report that the previous owner had contacted McCauley and asked if he had picked up the truck and he said he had. Further plans were made to meet at the DMV to transfer the license and title to McCauley’s name, but the suspect did not comply.
The previous owner then filed a report with the West Virginia State Police Morgantown Detachment in April for the stolen plates.
McCauley was eventually located and taken into police custody, before being questioned and formally charged with the crime of entering a building other than a dwelling earlier this month.
If convicted of the charge, he could face a potential one to ten years in a state correctional facility.
Additional charges could be brought against the suspect.
McCauley is currently being held at Tygart Valley Regional Jail without bond.