BENNINGTON -- A man who cut half a ton of copper from the former Mount Anthony Union Middle School, caused a traffic hazard to summon police to report his stolen cell phone, and sold cocaine and heroin, was sentenced on Wednesday to serve between 10 and 15 years in prison.
Tracy Eastman, 41, formerly of Bennington, pleaded guilty Wednesday to burglary, disorderly conduct, felony cocaine sale, felony heroin sale, and three counts of selling regulated drugs from a dwelling. The state dismissed a number of other heroin sale, and drug possession charges.
The 10- to 15-year sentence was attached to the burglary charge, which Eastman was accused of in April of last year. Police said between then and the fall of 2012 he entered the former middle school on Main Street and removed copper piping. Sometimes he worked alone, other times with helpers. Police said Eastman took $9,000 worth of copper and sold it to area scrap yards. This caused an estimated $75,000 in damage to the building.
Eastman was accused of the drug charges when he was arrested in September as part of "Operation Strike Two," a countywide drug sweep that was a follow-up to a larger one in January 2013. The Vermont Drug Task Force used confidential informants to purchase drugs from Eastman, as well as others.
It was in early 2013 that police were summoned after it was reported that Eastman was walking down the middle of a public road, shouting. Police arrived to learn that Eastman had wished to summon them all along, because he wanted to report his cell phone had been stolen. Eastman had tried to report the matter before, but police were busy with other calls.
Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org or @kwhitcombjr on Twitter.