ASHLAND, Maine — Police have charged an employee of Northeast Pellets in Ashland of stealing wood pellets and selling them on the black market.

On the evening of Monday, Jan. 30, Sgt. Jarad Carney of the Ashland Police Department caught Northeast Pellets employee Kyle Bell allegedly in the process of loading heating pellets into his vehicle at the mill’s storage facility.

Carney arrested Bell, 22 of Presque Isle and charged him with theft. Bell has since been released from jail.

Police allege Bell stole at least $350 worth of wood pellets and sold them on his own at below-market prices.

Matt Bell, the owner of Northeast Pellets, said in a news release that the company would like to hear from anyone who may have purchased pellets from Kyle Bell. (The two individuals are unrelated.)

“Their pellets will be replaced by me, free of charge, for their assistance in this matter and their inconvenience,” Bell said in the release.

This is the first alleged theft of wood pellets among Ashland forestry companies, according to Ashland police Chief Cyr Martin.

In 2011, police charged four employees of the former Pinkham lumber mill with stealing more than $20,000 of supplies and equipment, Martin said.