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Police: Christopher N. Mendelsohn charged in boat motor theft, ransacking of historic farmhouse

By Len Righi, WFMZ.com Reporter
Published On: Oct 12 2012 03:43:57 PM CDT
BANGOR, Pa. -

A man has been arrested for allegedly stealing a boat motor early Friday morning and for helping to strip a historic farmhouse of its plumbing, window frames and stove more than a year ago, officials said.

Christopher N. Mendelsohn was arrested at about 2 a.m., after police spotted the stolen boat motor in the back seat of a green Honda Civic owned by Mendelsohn's fiancee, Jessica Fisher, which was parked at their home at 694 Washington Blvd., Washington Twp., Northampton Co., officials said. The 15-horsepower motor was worth $400, they added.

Mendelsohn, 30, was identified as the thief by the motor's owner, Clifton Howey, who said he saw a man take the motor from a three-sided building on his property at 575 North Main St., Bangor, Northampton Co., and drive away, officials said. Howey and Mendelsohn's homes are about two miles apart.

Mendelsohn was also charged in connection with a burglary reported Aug. 30, 2011, at the National Park Service's historic Tott's Gap Farmhouse along National Park Road in Upper Mount Bethel Twp., Northampton Co., officials said. The building is in Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, they added.

Mendelsohn is one of three men believed to be responsible for removing copper plumbing, aluminum window frames, radiators, a wood-burning stove, a furnace motor, a treadmill, and a portion of a balcony from the farmhouse and selling it all for scrap, officials said. The items were worth $10,400, they said.

Ronald C. Ulmer, who is an inmate at the Coal Township state correctional institution in Northumberland Co., and Jacob M. Waters, 465 Richmond Rd., Bangor, were named in court papers as Mendelsohn's co-defendants. Waters used his pickup truck to pull off a portion of the building, according to court documents.

Investigators found graffiti spray painted on several walls included the names "Cody Hineline" and "Chris M," and that helped them crack the case, officials said.

Hineline was found to be a student in the Bangor Area School District, and when police interviewed him at his home in Bangor, he admitted to being at the farmhouse with five other individuals for several weeks over the summer of 2011, mostly in August, officials said.

Hineline said he helped Mendelsohn in removing items that were sold for scrap on several occasions to JFR Salvage, 6500 Sullivan Trail, Plainfield Twp., Northampton Co., and that he was paid only $25 of the $300 he was promised by Mendelsohn, officials said.

JFR produced receipts showing Mendelsohn, Ulmer and Waters sold scrap during August 2011, officials said.

Mendelsohn was arraigned early Friday morning on both sets of charges, court papers show. In both cases he was charged with burglary, criminal trespass, theft and receiving stolen property, according to court documents. A charge of conspiracy was added for the farmhouse crime, documents show.

Mendelsohn was committed to the Northampton County Prison on $100,000 bail for each incident, according to court papers.

A preliminary hearing is set for 1 p.m. Oct. 22.