Harpswell TV station hopes video will bring bottle thieves to justice

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HARPSWELL — Who is stealing from the Harpswell Community TV bottle shed?

That question has been posed to viewers of Harpswell Community television since Aug. 30, when station manager Donna Frisoli started airing a video of men allegedly emptying the small shed of bags of returnables.

Two different three-minute videos claim to show two men hoisting all the bags of bottles out of the shed, which sits just outside the gate to the Harpswell transfer station, during a nighttime raid.

A younger man wears a camouflage Red Sox hat, and an older man with gray hair and moustache wears a faded Mountain Dew denim baseball hat. The younger man appears in both videos, which were recorded over the summer.

Frisoli also has footage of a daytime heist, featuring different men loading bottles into a white car.

Bottles have been disappearing since at least May, when Don Torrey, who owns Don’s Redemption Center in Brunswick, first noticed the shed was often empty when he arrived to pick up the bags. In the past, Torrey said previously, the shed would be overflowing.

Soon after, Frisoli installed a security camera in the back of the shed. She has shared its video with both the Brunswick Police Department and the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office.

According to Lt. Carey Joyce, the sheriff’s office has circulated images captured by the video camera to local law enforcement agencies, although no suspects have been identified.

So, frustrated by the on-going thefts, the TV station operators took matters into their own hands by running the video on Channel 14 and posting it online. Frisoli said the thefts stopped as soon as she began airing the video, although she hasn’t heard anything from the Sheriff’s Office about possible suspects.

Deposits generated by donated bottles net the TV station about $4,000 a year, much of which is used to pay utilities, according to Frisoli. She has said Harpswell residents who would like to continue donating to the TV station can leave their returnables at Don’s Redemption in Brunswick.

Frisoli and Joyce encouraged anyone with information about the thefts or the men in the video to call the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office anonymous tip line at 774-1444 ext. 2208 or give a tip online at www.cumberlandso.org/tip.htm.

Emily Guerin can be reached at 781-3661 ext.123 or eguerin@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @guerinemily.

“Bottle Thieves” by Harpswell Community TV

BOTTLE THIEVES 30aug11 from htv14 on Vimeo.

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A camera installed in the Harpswell Community TV bottle shed reportedly filmed this man removing returnables from the shed.

A camera installed in the Harpswell Community TV bottle shed reportedly filmed this man removing returnables from the shed.