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Scrap Metal Plant Helps Police Catch Copper Crooks

Posted July 27, 2007
Updated July 28, 2007

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— Duke University is the latest victim of scrap metal thieves. Earlier this week, the Salvation Army in Raleigh lost as much as 3,000 pounds of copper to crooks.

The price of copper has hit a record high, and thieves are cashing in. They have to try to fence their stolen goods somewhere, however, and one business they have tried to use is on the side of law enforcement.

“It’s something that is easy to take in a lot of situations, since it’s [in] houses under construction or abandoned buildings,” said Garner Police Sgt. Chris Clayton.

Taking the metal only gets the thieves halfway, and they have to convert the metal to cash somehow. They  have been taking the scrap to recycling plants, such as TT&E in Garner, but quick thinking and technology have stopped some thieves in their tracks.

Scrap-metal workers called police after getting a tip about the theft from Duke. Police said surveillance video caught Samuel Holloway, 63, hauling in nearly 700 pounds of copper, worth $1,200.

When stolen storm grates were reported missing in Durham, they also showed up at TT&E. A tip about two men bringing in a large amount of scrap metal lead to two arrests.

“That really helps us out when businesses are interested in helping us solve crimes,” Clayton said.

TT&E invested in high-tech security equipment after the company itself was victimized. The owner said thieves got away with $50,000 worth of copper.

7 Comments

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  • NC to GA Jul 28, 2007

    Thieves suck.

  • OncomingStorm Jul 28, 2007

    While it's fine to commend the company, not all crooks are so stupid as to ignore the newspaper. As a result of this article TT&E may receive less fraudulent business, but advertising their involvement may have the undesired effect of leading crooks to take their goods to businesses further afield.

  • ladyblue Jul 28, 2007

    Glad they caught those buggars and thanks to the company for helping out.

  • raider Jul 28, 2007

    Let's hope more businesses get on board like TT&E has. Great job, TT&E - you deserve a medal! If you get it, don't melt it down, okay?

  • 1Moms_View Jul 28, 2007

    GReat job by that business. Too many would just take the cooper and be done with it.

  • Nancy Jul 28, 2007

    Great job by the business!

  • Tarheeljunior Jul 28, 2007

    Stealing metal like this is a crime of opportunity. The metal is there, it isn't guarded, and as the Salvation army article pointed out, it is easy to disguise before trying to to turn it for money. Congrats to TT&E for making is a little more difficult for these pathetic thieves to get a payday.