The price of scrap metal is climbing throughout many areas of the country while job opportunities continue to decline. In South Jersey, among other areas of the country, there has been an increase in concern that financially strapped individuals may resort to theft of scrap metal for quick cash opportunities.
A large number of sites including cemeteries, construction sites, and empty buildings have fallen victim to these thefts in recent years. Because scrap metal dealers buy just about anything, thieves are stealing metal furniture, grave site items, and piping to gain extra selling opportunities. The dealers of these metal items, though, are law abiding and keep records of the bought items and the identities of the sellers.
Police can visit scrap metal dealers in their area in order to investigate whether any of the metal the dealers have may have come from illicit sources and then try to track it back to the seller. According to the Greenwich Township police sergeant, people are so desperate for money, they’ll take whatever they can get their hands on. He went on to note that thefts occur in homes, businesses, in garages, and in yards. He went on to add that copper is the most popular of the stolen metals.
Around 20 burglaries were reported in Greenwich between October and mid-December. The majority of these thefts occurred in homes, as well as in detached garages where thieves stole extension cords, metal cables, and wire. Three township men were arrested in connection with some of these thefts. One of the men admitted, according to police, to committing approximately 10 of the burglaries.
Gloucester County Times, “For thieves, scrap metal looking more like a bright, shiny target,” Joe Green, Jan. 8, 2012