Officials still fighting metal thefts

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Associated Press

Posted on April 1, 2013 at 6:01 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 1 at 6:01 PM

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) — Although Bowling Green officials have taken aim at the growing number of metal thefts, they are still a common occurrence.

The Daily News (http://bit.ly/ZXmykF ) reports three incidents were reported in just the month of March with each one involving hundreds of dollars of lost material. Over the past two years, thieves have also targeted city property, taking nine stormwater grates in 2010 and 19 last year.

To combat the situation, police spokesman Ronnie Ward says officers have developed cooperative relationships with area recyclers and try to intercept stolen goods before they are recycled.

Southern Recycling Vice President John Fellonneau says the company has taken several steps in an effort to stop taking in stolen materials.

"The word is out that Southern Recycling will not buy stolen material," Fellonneau said. "If it gets by our buyers, we record (the transactions) and you will get caught."

The increasing problem with metal theft s throughout the state led lawmakers to pass legislation in 2011 and 2012 tightening restrictions sales of scrap metal in an effort to decrease thefts.

According to National Insurance Crime Bureau data, Kentucky had 778 reported thefts between 2009 and 2011, which is the 12th highest in the nation.

"Most of the thefts involve copper ... that's where there seems to be the most value in recycling," said Frank Scafidi, spokesman for the NICB. "Certainly, we've seen the rise in activity year to year, but the actual numbers of incidents are going to be much higher because not every incident trips an insurance claim."

Bowling Green Police Maj. Penny Bowles, who is the liaison between the department and recycling centers, says they maintain a good working relationship and recyclers inform police about suspicious activity.

"It's a cooperative effort," Bowles said of the relationship between law enforcement and scrap yards. "They can't stop metal theft without our help, and we can't stop it without their help."

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Information from: Daily News, http://www.bgdailynews.com

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