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Suspected copper thief accused of causing $1M in hospital damage appears in court

Posted: 11:07 AM, Feb 28, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-28 14:09:16-05

The man accused of stealing copper from the Spohn Shoreline Hospital construction site and causing more than $1 million in damage said he’s innocent.

Albert Tobin Roberts pleaded not guilty to theft and criminal mischief during an appearance before 148th District Judge Carlos Valdez this morning.

Police say on Nov. 18, Roberts gained access to the construction site for Spohn Shoreline’s new patient tower.

Once inside, he grabbed some copper wiring and fled. In the process, he caused a major water leak which flooded three floors. A contractor estimated the damage at more than $1 million.

During this morning’s hearing, Roberts attorney waived the reading of Roberts’ indictment.

Before Roberts left the courtroom, Valdez reminded him how important it was for the courts to know where he is living when he’s out on bond.

“Mr.Roberts, you need to stay in touch with your lawyer at all times,” Valdez said. “If you move from one place to another, you need to let your lawyer know it. So, they can let the court know.

“We need to know where you are at all times. You know you have to be here on the day of trial or any other hearings. Do you understand that?”

Roberts said he did.

“Do you know what happens if you’re not here?” Valdez asked.

“You pretty much have to go on without me?” Roberts replied.

“No, I’ll have you arrested and kept in jail,” Valdez said.

Meanwhile, a docket call in this case has been set for March 21.

Roberts’ trial has been set for March 25.