Two charged in construction site theft scheme in Millsboro, Lewes

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Left to Right: 66-year-old Winfield Heckrote, of Millsboro; 52-year-old James McMullin, of Millsboro, DE – Delaware State Police

Two men were arrested in connection with multiple thefts from construction sites in Millsboro and Lewes.

Since December 2019, Delaware State Police have been investigating numerous reports of thefts from construction sites in the Independence Development in Millsboro and the Governors Development in Lewes. 

Large amounts of building material consisting of lumber, plumbing supplies, countertops, windows, doors, and other miscellaneous items were reported stolen.

On April 17, around 1 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 driver of the truck was contacted and identified as 66-year-old Winfield Heckrote, of Millsboro. 

Heckrote advised that he was “dumpster diving” and was given permission to do so. Through further investigation, police determined that he 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 in Millsboro and located a large amount of building material behind the home. 

A camper was also located on the property in which 52-year-old James McMullin, of Millsboro, was residing.

A search of numerous outbuildings belonging to Heckrote was conducted, which led to the discovery of more building materials. The building materials were confirmed as being stolen from the construction sites belonging to Schell Brothers.

On Wednesday, April 22, both Heckrote and McMullin were taken into custody at their home without incident. 

Heckrote was charged with Burglary Second Degree, Theft-4 counts (Felony), Theft-3 counts, Fail to Obey an Emergency Order, and Criminal Trespass Third Degree-5 counts. He was arraigned and released on his own recognizance.

McMullin was charged with Burglary Second Degree, Theft-4 counts (Felony), Theft-3 counts, and Criminal Trespass Third Degree-5 counts. He was arraigned and released on his own recognizance.