Thursday, June 9, 2011

Scrap Metal Theft

“He that steals an egg will steal an ox”
A year ago I wrote about Appliance Fires in England caused by a power surge when thieves broke into an electrical substation and stole £20 worth of copper switching parts to sell on the black market. Likewise I recall a story during the Iraq war that power outages resulted when thieves stole remote power lines in the desert to sell as scrap metal.

The Consumerist reports a similar story here in the US. In 2009 the mayor of Pittsburgh purchased 250 trash receptacles printed with his name for $1,010 apiece. Critics objected to the high price (and to his name on the cans). Other cities had spent less to stash the trash - Cincinnati ($500), Philadelphia ($118) and Minneapolis ($323). The mayor replied that a lower price was just not possible,

"I would challenge somebody that suggests that it is (possible) to prove where that can happen — and what is the quality and the durability and the maintenance factor of those garbage cans?"
Three years later the durability and maintenance are a problem. I'm sure the cans are in fine condition when you can find one - but it seems that 50 cans have gone missing. Some detective work revealed that the $1000 cans are being sold to scrap dealers for about $40. Maybe the city should have bolted the pricey cans to the concrete?

My wife and I have similar concerns about buying a lawn ornament. We love the look of bears carved from a tree log but wonder how long it would last in the front yard before someone stole it (or vandalized it). So instead we purchased a glass table supported by a carved bear that we use in the living room where it will be safe.

Bottom Line

Is the economy making theft worse? Here are some headlines from

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Blogger Gary W Kibble said...

two young men steal a steel bridge...

October 17, 2011 at 1:47 PM  

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