March investigation leads to charge for McCauley

TAYLOR COUNTY—After being found in an old, abandoned building in March, a defendant has officially been charged with the crime.

Christopher Edward McCauley, labeled as a transient by police, has been charged with entry of a building other than a dwelling, a felony.

According to the criminal complaint filed by Grafton Police Department Patrolman Misty Nicholas, she received word from a City of Grafton official of an older pickup truck backed up to doors at the old box factory building, on March 21.

Upon her arrival on scene, Officer Nicholas located a Dodge Ram 1500, bearing an 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 opened and lifted approximately 16-18 inches off of the floor. It was then she saw a male, described by Nicholas as being approximately 5’11”, weighing nearly 150 pounds, with a scruffy brown beard, inside the old factory.

According to the report, the officer witnessed the subject dragging large black cables toward the open bay door.

When told to stop what he was doing and step outside to speak with Nicholas, the man turned and ran into the abandoned factory, out of the officer’s view. Because of the size of the structure, Nicholas called for backup to help sweep the location.

Chief Deputy Randy Durrett of the Taylor County Sheriff’s Department and West Virginia State Police Corporal Loren Knotts assisted Nicholas in her search of the building, but the subject was not found inside.

Nicholas then returned to the parked pickup truck, where she found clothing items, a duffle bag, and several hand tools typically used for cutting in the bed of the truck.

She then switched her focus to the large cables she witnessed the male subject moving toward the door. Inside the building, the officer noted several strands of cut cables containing copper, as well as two pairs of wire cutters that were handled by the suspect.

The report states that Nicholas had the truck towed from the scene and obtained a search warrant for the vehicle. 

During the execution of the warrant, the officer found a receipt for a local store, and after visiting the establishment, she was made aware of identification of the subject as Christopher Edward McCauley.

The identification was further backed up through a search of the call logging system used by police.

The search of the vehicle also yielded items covered in a white powdery substance, in addition to a small white paper envelope secured with electrical tape containing the substance that the officer noted was packaged in a way consistent with the packaging of fentanyl.

 Due to belief that the powder was in fact fentanyl, it was sent to the West Virginia State police forensic lab for drug identification.

The officers attempted to contact McCauley at the home of a family member but we’re unable to do so. 

However, they were able to make contact with representatives for the property of the old box factory, and he revealed to officers that the wiring and plumbing lines inside the building had been cut down and removed. He further stated that the suspect entered the building without authorization.

While searching the truck, it was revealed that the registration was made out to a third party. When officers contacted the truck’s owner, he told police that the suspect had taken possession of the vehicle, after purchasing it for $100.

An agreement had been made between the truck’s previous owner and McCauley to pick up the truck and title, but the individual told police that when he woke up the next morning the truck was gone.

Nicholas noted in her report that the former owner had made contact with McCauley and asked if he had picked up the truck and he stated that he had. More plans were made to meet at the DMV to transfer the license and title over into McCauley’s name, However 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 custody by police, before being interviewed and formally charged with the crime of entry of a building other than a dwelling, earlier this month.

If found guilty of the charge, he could face a potential one to ten years in a state correctional facility.

Additional charges could be forthcoming for the suspect.

McCauley is currently being held at the Tygart Valley Regional Jail without bond.


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