Scrap thieves elude cops -- but don't make a sale

TOLEDO -- Two scrap thieves eluded Toledo police on Tuesday. Still, Toledo police say things are getting tougher for people who choose to steal metal to supplement their incomes.

Scrap yards around the area say they've been getting a bad reputation for buying stolen metal from thieves. And today, when two crooks tried to sell their plunder, police say all the yards the thieves went to turned them away.

Police call that a huge success -- even though they weren't able to make any arrests.

Janette Gaston has been scrapping metal since she was 7 years old.

"I saved up a whole lot of cans and took them in. Saved up my money and got my first bike with it," Gaston says, adding that she recycles cans now.

"Some people are house stripping and stuff like that. I used to do it myself," Gaston says.

"What they do is they cut it up someplace. Then, they lay low for a little while. Then, they try to come around to these different scrap yards and sell it," says Toledo Police Sgt. Richard Murphy.

But, lately, Gaston has noticed yards toughening up. She was turned away without a sale three times last month.

"I didn't have my ID before I got in their computer so I had to go back and go get it," she says.

And no ID was the reason R and M Recycling turned these two thieves away Tuesday morning. Police advised yards they were trying to sell stolen school bleachers. No yard accepted the offer.

"All of them are turning them away and they're calling the police immediately," Murphy says.

Police looked for the two thieves all morning -- going to other scrap places to see where they'd go next.

"They need the money so they need to unload it someplace. They're not just going to dump it. Because if they dump it someplace else, some other scrapper is going to come along and say, 'Wow, I got a gold mine,'" Murphy says.

Turns out, police never caught them. But officers say with yards now toughening up, handing over surveillance photos and not giving thieves a profit -- well, they say that's success.

Posted by KO