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Ten charged in Durham scrap metal sting

Posted April 12, 2011

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— Police said Tuesday that they have charged 10 people at Durham recycling operations and junkyards with buying stolen scrap metal.

Chief Jose Lopez said Tuesday that officers conducted a sting operation by taking grave markers, catalytic converters, air conditioning coils and even a city sign to local businesses.

Police have been educating scrap yards for three years about what items they shouldn't buy because they are likely stolen, Lopez said. Some of the items used in the sting can be sold only by authorized people.

Arrests were made at Always Buying Scrap, at 2210 Kate St., J&D Recyclers, at 2645 Cheek Road, Fortress Metals, at 217 Holman St., and Foss Auto Recycling, 1915 Riddle Road.

Metal thefts have accounted for numerous break-ins and larcenies in Durham in recent years, Lopez said.

"This is something that this community, the City of Durham, felt very strongly about because this impacts so many individuals,” he said. "An individual who goes in with, let's say, some air-conditioning coils for a couple of dollars, has cost a citizen not just the impact of being victimized but also several thousand of dollars in repairs."


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  • tootsiecs Apr 18, 2011

    The display of force, and the very high bail set was extreme overkill. We are extremely invested in the community and are not flight risks. This suggests the possibility of a political agenda. Also the press never told you about the numerous times that we refused cemetery material, or the time that we refused to buy mausoleum doors and voluntarily called them in to the detectives when the thieves ran off, and then returned them to the rightful owner. They didn't publish the numerous occasions that we refused suspect material, and railroad scrap and manhole covers. The Monday before they locked us up, there was a car , apparently stolen, in our parking lot. The police were called immediately. We didn't sell the car in our next load of scrap as we could have. Several days before our arrests we wrote a check to the Police Benevolent Association to help send kids to camp. This was not in an effort to avoid or evade anything, as we had no idea of the impending bust. All of this information

  • Mugu Apr 13, 2011

    There should be a better way to keep these meth heads from stealing metal.

  • danagrimstead Apr 13, 2011

    The police have been working with the scrap yards for three years and for those three years J&D has been following all rules and regulations put in place by the police and industry. The key word behind all of this is “knowingly”. Did they knowingly purchase stolen metal? Not when the seller claims all rights of ownership.

  • fishstory Apr 13, 2011

    Garner Bob has a common sense idea. Too bad, nobody will listen or consider it. Common sense, thinking, reasnoable, and will definetly reduce crime. Also, if anyone will have to show an ID for scrap that would otherwise be trash, why can't they produce an ID to vote? The IRONY!!! AAARRRGGGHHH

  • bombayrunner Apr 13, 2011

    Durnam PD can't stop their own officers from getting drunk and getting into accidents, stealing, kidnapping, etc ... how are they going to stop a bunch of hubcap, manhole cover, copperpipe takin thiefs.

  • bombayrunner Apr 13, 2011

    put them in the 'clink'.

  • WHEEL Apr 13, 2011

    Durham PD can't stop their own Officers from stealing, see news. How are they going to stop the crooks.

  • GetRight Apr 13, 2011

    I've done business with TT&E on many occasions. They seem to run a pretty tight ship there. They require a DL and they make you look into a camera for a picture BEFORE paying you.

    Garner-Bob's idea has validity but based on my observations at TT&E, there are a significant number of customers who I am confident do not have bank accounts. Paying by check may create a hardship for them. Requiring a DL & photographing them seems pretty effective. If that stops working I support Garner-Bob's idea 100%.

  • GetRight Apr 13, 2011

    Man, some of you guys just don't get it. The article specifically mentions that the Durham police have been working with these businesses for three(3) years, educating them about how to handle the purchase of certain high theft items and how to avoid buying stolen goods. If you eliminate the place to sell these stolen goods you will eliminate those particular thefts.

    A Catalytic converters and A/C coils are VERY expensive for the victim to replace. Those complaining that the DPD should focus on the thieves and not a businesses employees... that is exactly what they are doing: eliminating the market for the stolen property.

  • danagrimstead Apr 13, 2011

    Additionally, the Durham police set these companies and people up. They are trying to charge them with a crime they didn’t commit in order to appear as if they crack down on the break-ins and larcenies in Durham and get a little extra income from the bail placed on the people they arrested. I think these recyclers should file a counter suit against the Durham police department.

    Another suggestion, why doesn't the Durham police create a list of stolen items and have the scrap yards keep a look out for items that fit those descriptions.