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Scrap theft is big business

Updated: April 23, 2013 12:21PM



CROWN POINT — Many business on the city’s north side create scrap metal as part of their normal activity. This is not worthless trash.

These Crown Point businesses turn that leftover material into cash that helps keeps their cost of doing business down.

Theft of that scrap is an ongoing problem in many cities, not just Crown Point.

Recently, Police Chief Pete Land made an evening sweep of the city and found a couple of men emptying big bins of not only scrap, but also pieces of steel ready to be worked, at a business on Summit Street. This business would have lost thousands of dollars had the attempted theft been successful.

In the past, Lowell has has people break into the street department storage yard and steel manhole covers that had not yet been installed on the town streets. Employees of a scrap yard called police and the crooks were nabbed.

In Cedar Lake not long ago, people were steeling wires from cell towers. They were taking it to a scrap yard across from a cell tower in Cedar Lake. The men at the scrap yard were able to call the Cedar Lake police and tell them that they were watching someone climbing a cell tower across the street from their business.

The people they were watching had just been in the scrap yard to ask how much they were paying for that exact kind of wire. The Cedar Lake police were able to catch the person in the act and made the arrest.

The Crown Point police logs show calls for stolen scrap metal has come in from an area ranging from North Street to Summit Street and from Indiana Avenue to Broadway.

Assistant Chief of Police Jim Janda said, “This has happened to businesses throughout the city, most (thefts) occurring over the weekend hours or after hours. We have extra patrol scheduled for the businesses for officers to keep an eye on. Most everything taken was old brakes, rotors, scrap batteries and things left inside the business dumpsters or recycle bins.”

In at least one or two instances what was taken was not scrap. It was extra-sized finished product that was to be delivered the next day to customers. The objects had been tied down on truck beds to be delivered early the next morning.



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