Metal Stealing

By: Tina Stein
By: Tina Stein

It's a way to make a quick dime. Turn in metal scraps for cash. But too often are these materials stolen.

"Workmen have come in the morning and found wires been literally pulled out of existing conduits and had gang boxes broken into and wires stolen out of there tools too," says Andy Kwiatkowski, Project Manager for Control Panels.

Kwiatkowski says tens of thousands of dollars worth of materials have been stolen over the last few years. That's why Rockford Aldermen want to make it a law that every scrap metal company must ask for a photo ID before accepting any copper scrap.

"That's an excellent idea," Kwiatkowski says.

Next up, regulating other precious metals, specifically catalytic converters. Which owners at Ricotta's Automotive say they've seen three cars with the missing part this year alone.

It's no easy task to steal a catalytic converter you would have to slide underneath a car, saw off the 20lb part and then break it down for precious metals.

Inside the converter you'll find platinum, rhodium and palladium. All worth thousands of dollars. So if you get ripped off expect a costly repair.

"It's very expensive because it's not only the removal of the converter but they damage the exhaust system," says Tom Ricotta, owner of Ricotta Automotive.

And also damage to the oxygen sensor. Rockford Deputy Police Chief Greg Lindmark says he's seen ten reports of stolen catalytic converters and actually just made an arrest two months ago.

In order for the law to be effective, Rockford Aldermen want surrounding towns to do the same thing. Alderman Nancy Johnson says so far the response has been excellent. The council could make a decision at their next board meeting.


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