Scrap metal companies act with integrity

February 24, 2010

I would like to respond to your editorial "A Junkyard Dog" (Feb. 23) pertaining to the issue of scrap metal dealers buying stolen metal.

I am the president of a local 93 year old scrap metal company that buys metal from business, industry and government only. Our exposure to stolen metal is non-existent. However, I would like to address the issue in defense of the integrity of the majority of the scrap metal dealers in the Baltimore area who do engage in retail buying.

I can say without reservation that the overwhelming majority of these companies are operated with the utmost integrity and do everything possible not to buy stolen metal and to cooperate with law enforcement agencies. In fact, when stolen material is reported, a fax goes out to the scrap metal companies to be on the lookout for the metal.

I believe the solution to stopping theft is for our law enforcement agencies to be more vigilant. Several years ago, I had a distinctive metal stolen from my company in broad daylight. I tracked the thief with his shopping cart down Lombard Street and called 911. When the police showed up, they stopped the thief until my truck showed up to reclaim my metal. At that point, they released the man who took my metal in his shopping cart. What did they think this man was going to do next? Get a legitimate job? I don't think so!

The solution to this problem is not to make it more difficult for honorable companies to operate in a horrible economy but to crack down on the people who are nothing but common thieves.

Jerry Kurman, Baltimore

The writer is president of S.H. Landsman & Son Inc.

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