A former Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport electrician has been put on probation and ordered to serve home detention for stealing more than $125,000 worth of copper wire from a project site.
Kipp W. Baldwin, 60, of Bloomington, was sentenced Monday in Hennepin County District Court after pleading guilty to theft by swindle and filing a false tax return.
Baldwin was put on five years' probation and sentenced to more than five months of electronic home monitoring. His plea deal, reached in January, included dismissal of five counts of filing a false tax return. He was also ordered to do electrical work as part of his sentencing.
Airport police received a tip in October 2019 from a Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) employee who suspected Baldwin was stealing copper starting as far back as 2015.
Baldwin had worked for the MAC for 20 years. MAC records show he worked as an electrician foreman and earned $133,894 in 2019, then was fired in March 2020. He worked weekdays but also 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.
Baldwin was arrested and admitted taking materials from the construction site. He said he sold them to pay for coffee, Christmas dinners and other things for his division.
However, a search of his home and vehicles yielded several boxes of wire and $10,000 in a safe. He also had several investment and retirement accounts totaling more than $1.3 million.
Baldwin had been paid more than $145,000 from 2015 to 2019 by a scrap facility, with more than $126,000 of that coming from selling copper, according to prosecutors.
His sentence also requires that he pay restitution of $54,337 to Hunt Electric, $5,946 to the state Department of Revenue and $765 to the MAC.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482