RI men charged in theft of AC units worth $500k

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Police in Rhode Island say they've made arrests in a half million dollar theft of air conditioning units from a Wal-Mart store.

Woonsocket police said Monday that Larry Bates Sr. and Jesse Marinaro of Johnston and Matthew Bruckschen of Woonsocket are charged with conspiracy and larceny in connection with the April theft. Wal-Mart estimates the cost of replacing the store air conditioning units to be as high as $500,000.

Bates and a fourth man, Nathan Plante of Woonsocket, are also charged with the theft of metal tables from a local restaurant. Bates also faces a charge of possessing counterfeit bills.

Police say the arrests came after Bates and Plante attempted to sell some of the metal to a local scrap dealer.

Attempts to reach the four men Monday were unsuccessful.