Man sentenced for stealing $200k worth of lead from Ferndale shop

A man who stole $200,000 worth of lead from a Ferndale welding shop and sold it to local recycling companies has been sentenced to one year in prison, according to sentencing papers filed in Whatcom County Superior Court.

Robert Raymond Danley, 50, pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary and first-degree trafficking stolen property on Jan. 29.

Duane Ellis, the owner of a welding shop on Grandview Road in Ferndale, reported 49,000 pounds of lead missing in February 2014, according to charging papers. The lead, valued at $200,000, was used to make bullets.

Ellis told investigators he had been away from the shop for a month. He returned to find the main shop door detached from the hinges. Tools and firearms also were missing.

Whatcom County Sheriff’s deputies discovered Danley had been selling lead to local recycling companies. He sold 614 pounds of lead to Scrap-it for $184.20 and 1,789 pounds to Northwest Recycling for $715.60, charging papers said.

Deputies alerted other recycling companies about the lead theft. On Feb. 26, 2014, deputies caught Danley and another individual unloading a U-Haul filled with 13,000 pounds of stolen lead at Alrite Recycling, charging papers said.

Danley admitted to investigators that he had broken into Ellis’ shop and taken the lead but claimed Ellis’ ex-girlfriend gave him permission to do so, according to charging papers. Ellis said his ex-girlfriend did not have access to the shop.

Danley must also pay a total of $899.80 in restitution for the money he made selling the stolen lead to the recycling companies.