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Metal thieves running rampant

 
Posted May 26th, 2014 @ 12:00pm

(Cleveland) - Ohio leads the nation in metal thefts, according to a report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau. It's a position the state has held for three years.

Ohioans reported 4,144 claims from 2011 to 2013. That's about a third higher than the 2,827 reported in Texas, 2,489 in California, 2,345, and 2,067 in Georgia.

"To make it into this pot there had to have been a claim submitted someplace and it could be just as simple as people who have been victimized by this kind of activity in Ohio tend to be better protected, in terms of having policies, for the material that was stolen," said Frank Scafidi, spokesman for the NICB.

Copper is by far the most popular metal stolen and it's one of the most valuable metals for scrappers.

Mary Bonelli with the Ohio Insurance Institute believes another factor for Ohio's elevated numbers might be the fact that law enforcement officers are more aware of the issue here.

The Ohio General Assembly passed a law in 2012 that requires all scrap dealers in the state take a photo of someone trying to sell scrap and enter their information into an online database.

"Ohio scrap dealers will be required to report transactions daily to the Ohio Department of Public Safety," Bonelli said.

Enforcement of the law doesn't kick in until July. Bonelli says it will likely take several months to determine whether or not the law is making a difference.

The U.S. Department of Energy has estimated that metal theft costs U.S. businesses $1 billion a year.

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(Photo by Ken Robinson/WTAM)

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