Two charged in attempted theft of metal from former Norwich Hospital property

PrestonState police caught up with two Massachusetts residents they say tried to burglarize the former Norwich Hospital property around 6 a.m. Wednesday.

Troopers recovered an estimated 500 pounds of scrap metal and copper and seized burglary tools, cutting instruments and lighting devices. Concerned residents provided help, police said.

Arrested were Joseph Donnell, 32, of Framingham, Mass., who was charged with fourth-degree larceny, third-degree criminal mischief, second-degree criminal trespassing, possession of burglary tools and interfering with an officer. Jennifer Coppell, 33, of Wayland, Mass., was charged with interfering with an officer.

A state police K-9 unit tracked Donnell, who fled the scene on foot and was taken into custody around 9:30 a.m. after a brief struggle.

State and Ledyard police stopped a vehicle driven by Coppell a short distance from the hospital. She had been identified at the scene and was believed to be trying to help Donnell escape, police said.

State police assigned to the Montville barracks and the Preston Resident State Trooper’s Office initiated the investigation after receiving a report of the attempted theft.

Donnell and Coppell were to appear in Norwich Superior Court.

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