Posted: Jan 28, 2013 8:18 PM by Lindsey Gordon - MTN News
HELENA - Friday, a man was arrested and charged in connection with a string of burglaries in the Helena area involving copper and other scrap materials.
Police were able to arrest the suspect in Missoula thanks to cooperation between recycling businesses and police.
Eric Meredith, branch manager of Pacific Steel and Recycling in Helena, said, "By getting the word out quickly, which we were able to do, Pacific Steel and Recycling, in cooperation with the Helena Police Department, as well as the business owners and managers...and our branch manager and crew identified the material and were able to provide that information to the police department."
Meredith said it also helps when a scrap recycling company follows Montana law, which says a scrap recycler must get a valid ID from anyone selling more than $50 worth of scrap.
Hardy Construction in Billings reported materials stolen from their construction site last week at the corner of Custer and Sanders. They had 800 feet of welding leads stolen, totaling about $3,000 in value.
"It's a real inconvenience," said Robe Lowe, a project supervisor for Hardy Construction. "To recycle that welding lead, you're getting about $2 a pound, which is approximatelys $2 a lineal foot. It costs $14 dollars a foot to replace it as welding lead."
Meredith encourages police and businesses to use Scrap Theft Alert, a neighborhood watch site for the scrap recycling industry--called "Scrap Theft Alert."
The faster they are able to get the word out that goods were stolen the better chance there is of catching those responsible.