Troopers: Six Month Investigation Leads To Two Arrest

L-R: Heckrote, McMullin

Millsboro/Lewes- The Delaware State Police have arrested Winfield B. Heckrote, 66, 0f Millsboro, DE and James L. McMullin, 52, of Millsboro, DE, in connection with multiple thefts from construction sites, according to Public Information Officer, Master Corporal Melissa Jaffe.

Jaffe said in December 2019, Troopers began investigating numerous reports of thefts from construction sites in the Independence Development, Millsboro and the Governors Development, Lewes. Large amounts of building material consisting of lumber, plumbing supplies, countertops, windows, doors, and other miscellaneous items were reported stolen.

On April 17, 2020, at approximately 1:00 a.m., Troopers located a white Ford F350 hauling a large double axle trailer in the Independence Development. The truck and trailer were located parked in front of a residence under construction. The operator of the pickup truck was contacted and identified as Winfield Heckrote. Heckrote advised that he was “dumpster diving” and was given permission to do so, said Jaffe. Through further investigation, it was determined that Heckrote was not provided permission to go through the dumpsters.

The Troop 4 Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU) and Governors Task Force (GTF) responded to Heckrote’s residence in the 28000 block of Harmons Hill Road, Millsboro, and located a large amount of building material behind the residence. A camper was also located on the property in which James McMullin was residing. A search of numerous outbuildings belonging to Heckrote was conducted, which led to the discovery of more building materials, according to Jaffe. The building materials were confirmed as being stolen from the construction sites belonging to Schell Brothers, added Jaffe.

On April 22, 2020, Heckrote and McMullin were taken into custody at their residence without incident. They were transported back to Troop 4 where they were charged with the following:

Winfield Heckrote:

Burglary Second Degree
Theft- 4 counts (Felony)
Theft-3 counts
Fail to Obey an Emergency Order
Criminal Trespass Third Degree- 5 counts
Heckrote was arraigned before the Justice of the Peace Court and released on his own recognizance.

James McMullin

Burglary Second Degree
Theft- 4 counts (Felony)
Theft- 3 counts
Criminal Trespass Third Degree-5 counts
McMullin was arraigned before the Justice of the Peace Court and released on his own recognizance.

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