LOWELL -- Police from communities throughout Merrimack Valley and southern New Hampshire say a 27-year-old Lowell man stole more than a dozen large commercial trash containers -- worth thousands of dollars -- from several companies, repainted them and used them for his company.
In Lowell District Court on Wednesday, Thomas W. Romano III, who lists his address as 614 Central St., Lowell, was released on personal recognizance after pleading not guilty to 16 counts of receiving stolen property.
As a condition of his release, Judge Stacey Fortes ordered Romano, who police say operates Direct Carting LLC of Lowell, to stay away and have no contact with the companies listed as "victims" in court documents.
The companies hit by the thefts are located in Wilmington, Billerica, Everett, Lawrence, Haverhill, Lowell, Brockton, Framingham, Winchester, Townsend, and Hudson, N.H., according to court documents.
Police allege that the commercial trash bins, up to 30 yards in length, are each worth thousands of dollars. The scrap contents were also stolen totaling about $14,000. Police say the thefts date back to October 2012.
Also listed as a suspect in court documents is Romano's brother, Nicholas, 23, of 128 High St., Reading, who is facing a charge of receiving stolen property. Nicholas Romano is listed on a business website as being president of Direct Carting LLC from January 2012 to March 2013.
After a reporter left a message for Thomas Romano III at his Lowell office, a woman who identified herself as his wife referred all questions to his attorney, Peter Bellotti. He could not be reached for comment.
In investigating the thefts, police say they have security video from businesses in Tyngsboro, Wilmington, Winchester and Hudson, N.H.
Lowell police began involved in the case on Feb. 1, 2013, when they were called to assist out-of-town detectives at 123 Bolt St. with the recovery of commercial containers that had allegedly been stolen from communities throughout the Merrimack Valley and New Hampshire.
Wilmington and Billerica police received information that the the stolen containers had been repainted and stored on the industrial property on Bolt Street in Lowell.
One of the companies that had containers stolen was Empire Recycling in Billerica, where Thomas Romano III worked for three months in 2012, police said. Afterward, Romano began his own business, Direct Carting LLC., according to court documents.
Police located 13 large salvage containers being stored on the rear lot of a commercial landscaping business on Bolt Street, which had leased a few parking spots to Thomas and Nicholas Romano, of Direct Carting, according to court documents.
The landscaping company's employees who spoke to the police said they noticed more and more containers arriving, mostly late at night, according to court documents. The containers were repainted and new signs saying Direct Carting were affixed to the containers, court documents state.
When police spotted Nicholas Romano at the site, he allegedly acknowledged he was the mechanic for his brother's business, and that he helped repair and repaint the containers, according to court documents.
Police say security video from several businesses show a Jeep drive into the businesses' lot and a man get out to inspect the container.A short time later a Mack truck drove in and removed a 40-yard container. The Jeep was registered to Thomas W. Romano III, police say.
Romano is scheduled for a pretrial conference on April 25.
Follow Lisa Redmond on Tout and Twitter@lredmond13_lisa.