A Porter man has been sentenced to 15 months in federal prison after
pleading guilty to three counts of interstate transportation of stolen
property, in connection with multiple thefts of a metal alloy from
ArcelorMittal property, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District
of Indiana said.
Robert Watkins, 32, was also ordered to pay $1,291,030 in restitution, the
U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
According to documents filed in the case, Watkins and a co-defendant,
Christopher Forster, on three occasions removed quantities of Ferro
Columbium from ArcelorMittal’s Burns Harbor facility, after a second
co-defendant--Ryan Hendrickson, a mechanic and welder employed by
ArcelorMittal--“passed on” knowledge of the mill property to them. They then
transported the Ferro Columbium--valued at $1,291,030--across state lines
for sale in Ohio.
“A sentence of 18 months and the ordering of restitution will serve to deter
the defendant from future criminal behavior, in addition to deterring others
from committing similar offenses,” the sentencing memorandum states. “Such a
sentence will also serve as just punishment, protect the public from the
defendant, and promote respect for the law.”
The case was investigated by the FBI GRIT Task Force.