Police develop ways to deter metal thieves

Law enforcement agencies in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana are working to make it more difficult for thieves to sell stolen items to scrap metal dealers in the tri-state.

Union Township Police Chief Terrence Zinser said a system is being developed that will allow agencies and investigators to contribute to and share a list of convicted or suspected metal thieves.

“The Ohio state law allows investigators to develop a list of suspected thieves,” Zinser said. “Once we put the thieves on the list, the scrap metal dealers cannot deal with them.”

He said the list will be available on a private website already used by law enforcement officials. He said agencies can contribute to the website and update the list voluntarily.

“Local agencies will deliver (the list) to local dealers in their area. Dealers are required to check the list,” Zinser said.

Zinser said dealers in the area are already required to check for identification before purchasing metal items. With the new list, they will be able to make sure a convicted or suspected thief is not attempting to scrap an item that may be stolen.

“It is going to make it more difficult for them,” Zinser said.

Zinser said as soon as the system is fine-tuned they will implement it and get the list out to other agencies.

“I absolutely am looking forward to it,” Zinser said about the list. “And I do believe it is going to be a deterrent.”