An electrician with the Metropolitan Airports Commission stole copper from contractors working at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and made about $126,000 selling it as scrap, according to criminal charges.

Kipp W. Baldwin, 59, of Bloomington, was charged Monday in Hennepin County District Court with one count of felony theft by swindle.

MAC officials said Baldwin remains on the payroll but that discipline is pending. MAC records show he worked as an electrician foreman and earned $133,894 last year.

According to the criminal complaint: Airport police received a report last October from a MAC employee who suspected Baldwin of stealing copper. Baldwin had worked for MAC for 20 years. He worked weekdays but would show up on weekends.

A large construction project with several contractors was underway. MAC electricians don't work with contractors, who remove and retain materials from construction sites.

Baldwin allegedly used his work badge to access secure areas of Terminal 1, removed copper items, hid them in electrical rooms, stripped the wires and later removed them from the airport.

In one instance, the charges said, Baldwin wore a vest emblazoned with a contractor's name, traded his baseball cap for a hard hat and took a spool of wire designated for the contractor.

Investigators marked the contractor's copper wire with theft detection powder and later recovered items at the United Milwaukee scrap facility and Baldwin's work vehicle and home garage that tested positive for the powder.

Baldwin was arrested by airport police on Nov. 15, questioned and released. He allegedly admitted taking materials from the construction site and said he sold them to pay for coffee, Christmas dinners and other items for his division.

A search of his home and vehicles yielded several boxes of wire and a safe containing $10,000, among other items.

Baldwin had been paid more than $145,000 between 2015 and 2019 by the scrap facility; more than $126,000 came from the sale of copper, according to the complaint. He also had several investment and retirement accounts containing more than $1.3 million.

Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708

Twitter: @ChaoStrib