Not very many years ago a crew was laying underground phone cable here in OK. Next morning at work they discovered someone had attached a chain to the cables and pulled a full 1/4 mile of cable out of the ground for the copper.
A neighboring small town (800 population) also had the ATM ripped off the mounts at the bank. It was found on a dirt road about 6 miles south of town; gutted of course.
If someone wants it they can often find a way of getting it and unfortunately, it’s usually the same people doing the crimes over and over again.
At least not all of them are smart…A few years ago a couple of guys decided to steal some copper cable at a power transfer station. They went there at about 2am when no one was around. They found their charred bodies later that day.
Coincidentally in the Rockauto newsletter this month, they talked about the theft of cats and how to prevent it. Seems like they like to go for hybrids because of the precious metal content. Said instead of the sawzall they have started to use chain pipe cutters that wrap around the pipes and cut them with little noise and no sparks. They have to have round pipe so mentioned adding a few muffler clamps strategically with a steel rod so they can’t use the pipe cutter. Not something I’ll be doing though.
Well yeah, there’s always a certain number of “lost souls” who will do anything for a “fix” but a few years back we had a similar rash of converter/scrap metal thefts that quickly disappeared once the “good citizen” buyers were dragged into court and spent some time in the awful City Jail, courtesy of some ticked off Judges and Juries.
The point is that if you can’t sell it it’s worthless so focus on the buyers. .
“Exactly how was it proven that the buyers knowingly bought stolen goods?”
Easy, the first step is to require scrappers to make a reasonable effort to determine that the seller has ownership. i.e. If some random guy shows up offering to sell pieces of aluminum light poles, you’d better ask how and why he got them.
The next, “If a price is too good to be true, it probably it is”…
If you get named as a recipient. assuming that the Judge or Jury aren’t complete fools, you and your attorney (at $400/hour) are now in the position of convincing them that you had absolutely no idea that everything wasn’t completely Kosher.
Eliminate the buyers and the problem is quickly solved,
I agree, but it is also necessary to disrupt the “demand” side of the business too. Unfortunately, laws regulating the sale of scrap metal have become way too strict here, thus burdening the person who wants to sell a small amount of scrap metal that they found, or obtained from repairing their own home or vehicle.
The last time I sold scrap metal, which was about 4 years ago, I had a box full of heatsinks from laptops and desktop computers which I had stripped for parts. The total came to about $15, and I had to be fingerprinted, they kept a copy of my ID, and I was informed that since the total was less than $20, I could be paid in cash. More than that, and I would have been waiting for a check to arrive in the mail.
Certain types of items require a 30 day waiting period before the check can even be mailed, unless you are a licensed business, and the payment is by check made out to the business.
Well I’m not a great fan of over-regulating but you do what you have to do the makes the most sense. There are only a few places people can sell this stuff. Most of the time when I have scrap I tell them I don’t want anything, just want to get rid of it. Sometimes they still insist on paying me.
Most of these guys are pretty dumb though. A few years ago a deputy stopped a car with a couple coils of wire strapped on the roof from the power plant. “They said we could have it.”
I imagine things vary state to state. My mother in law had an antique shop and I am separating sterling from plated and scrapping it. One place ID needed and paid by check jewelry store, another place antique shop pays cash. I think the antique shop pays a little more.
Just curious. If charges are not pursued unless the theft is over $1000, I wonder if that is $1000 per car or $37,000 for the whole night. Strange times.
A few years ago a couple guys came off the freeway and did a smash and grab at the jewelry store. They grabbed the diamond display off the counter. Turns out they were just glass display items and the jeweler said they’d never put real ones out in the open. They were convicted of a felony because in Minnesota they thought they had stolen more than $5000 worth even though they didn’t. Interesting case so I’d go after those guys even all they got was cheap mufflers.