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

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WALLINGFORD--Police have made an arrest in a pair of thefts in which more than $1 million worth of items were stolen.

On March 6 Wallingford Police, with the help of New Haven Police, arrested Frank Westervelt, 45, of New Haven, at his home. Westervelt was charged with larceny in the first degree by ongoing scheme, two counts of burglary in the third degree, criminal mischief in the first degree and possession of burglary tools. He is being held on a $100,000 bond and is due in court on March 16.

On November 18, 2014 more than $1 million worth of irreplaceable vintage Pratt & Whitney jet engine parts were stolen from the Wallingford Business Park located at 718 North Colony Rd. One of the parts, all of which were owned by Connecticut Corsair, a non-profit educational organization located in the business park, was due to be donated to the Smithsonian Institute's Air & Space Museum in Washington.

Specifically, gearboxes, jet engine stators, vanes, engine cases, combustion chambers and a forklift were stolen.

Some of the stolen aircraft items have been found, and together those are worth about $500,000.

Police say probable cause indicates that Westervelt sold the parts at a New Haven scrap dealer for a fraction of the parts' value.

As police were investigating that theft, another occurred. On January 7 a report was made to police that about 300 feet of copper piping was stolen from the same location. The property manager who reported the theft said the piping was valued at approximately $200,000.

Connecticut Corsair sponsors STEM programs for high school and college students. One of the things the organization does is collect, refurbish and build displays for students studying engineering and aerospace.

The Corsair Restoration Project has been devastated by this burglary.   The project leader tells FOX CT’s Mike Magnoli the estimated cost of the damage is in the millions of dollars-- and years of progress have been erased.

The mission of the project is to educate and encourage young people about careers in aerospace.  For more information, visit  http://www.connecticutscorsair.com/  Recovery efforts are still be organized, but help will be needed to get the project back on track.

If you have any information please call Wallingford Police at 203-294-2845.

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