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Metal Theft

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By Peter Hermann | May 16, 2012
A day after Baltimore County police set up a task force to target metal thieves who strip homes and businesses, tactical officers found themselves surrounding an abandoned state hospital building where two men were trying to steal copper pipes. Someone called about two suspicious men in an asbestos-laden building at Spring Grove State Hospital in Catonsville on Tuesday afternoon. The bystander saw the men carrying crow-bars and saws into the building, closed since 1974, according to Maryland State Police.
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EXPLORE
November 2, 2012
The Carroll County Sheriff's Office said on Friday that deputies arrested four men in the theft of scrap metal in Mount Airy this week. Police said Travis Waddell, 19,  Branden Battle, 19, and Adam Nicholas Toth, 22, all from Mount Airy; and Dwayne Douglas Frazier, 32, of Boyds, were each charged with trespassing and theft. In addition, Waddell was charged with possession of marijuana. The Sheriff's Office said that on Thursday, Nov. 1, at about 1:45 p.m., deputies were called to the 5800 block of Bethel Road in Mount Airy to investigate a theft complaint.
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NEWS
By Arthur Hirsch, The Baltimore Sun | May 14, 2012
After the power failed in an Essex neighborhood earlier this year, BGE officials discovered that someone had been stealing copper wire from the tops of utility poles. Oddly enough, however, they found no marks on the poles indicating that the culprit had climbed roughly 40 feet to reach the wire. Baltimore County police figured they might have their suspect when an officer on patrol in Dundalk spotted an unmarked white Ford van equipped with a bucket lift, and a man alongside the van stripping insulation from copper wire, according to a police report.
NEWS
By Tricia Bishop | June 8, 2012
Four civilians working at Aberdeen Proving Ground were indicted Friday on charges they stole more than 50,000 pounds of government copper and aluminum, worth $212,000, from the U.S. Army facility. Electricians Timothy J. Bittner, 52, of Bel Air; Steven M..Coale, 33, of North East; and Robert W. Reynolds, 29, of Felton, Pa. are charged in one indictment with conspiracy and theft for allegedly stealing more than 25,000 pounds of copper fixtures and wire, then selling it to metal recyclers in Maryland and surrounding states for $87,000.
NEWS
By Julie Scharper and Julie Scharper,julie.scharper@baltsun.com | October 2, 2008
It was a few hours before dawn when police spotted the two men smudged with grease leaving the parking lot of an auto repair shop in a deserted industrial area of Glen Burnie. The men told police that they had stopped to relieve themselves, but when officers discovered a cache of car parts, tools and more than a dozen damaged vehicles nearby, they thought otherwise. The two men were arrested and charged in connection with the theft of catalytic converters, an increasingly common crime in the county, according to police.
NEWS
February 23, 2010
Lawmakers in Annapolis ought to follow some legislative equivalent of the physicians' ethical tenet, primum non nocere or "first, do no harm." As various versions of the axiom have only been around since Ancient Greece, perhaps it hasn't gotten on the General Assembly calendar quite yet. At least that might explain the latest gyrations in the State House over legislation to regulate the scrap metal industry. Step one ought to be to make sure that whatever regulations are proposed, they are at least as effective as what local governments already require.
NEWS
November 2, 2009
In Baltimore County, violent crime is down, but incidents of theft are up. What's driven the increase is the lucrative market for scrap metal that has thieves yanking copper pipes out of the walls of vacant apartments and swiping catalytic converters from parked cars with the help of nothing more exotic than a cordless saw. Between 2005 and last year, theft of valuable metal has increased 500 percent in the county, police report. It now represents nearly 2 percent of all the burglary and theft cases investigated by the county police.
NEWS
By Peter Hermann, The Baltimore Sun | March 14, 2012
With an increasing number of elusive culprits ripping gutters and downspouts from homes, stripping wires and stealing statues from front lawns, Baltimore County police turned to a new tool in law enforcement — a Global Positioning System device. Detectives said they attached the device to a silver Honda Civic after a Pikesville homeowner videotaped two people trying unsuccessfully to stuff a neighbor's statue of a boy and a kite into the compact car. It was the day after someone stole two monkey statues from the front of the same house.
EXPLORE
November 2, 2012
The Carroll County Sheriff's Office said on Friday that deputies arrested four men in the theft of scrap metal in Mount Airy this week. Police said Travis Waddell, 19,  Branden Battle, 19, and Adam Nicholas Toth, 22, all from Mount Airy; and Dwayne Douglas Frazier, 32, of Boyds, were each charged with trespassing and theft. In addition, Waddell was charged with possession of marijuana. The Sheriff's Office said that on Thursday, Nov. 1, at about 1:45 p.m., deputies were called to the 5800 block of Bethel Road in Mount Airy to investigate a theft complaint.
NEWS
By Peter Hermann | May 14, 2012
Baltimore County police are announcing today a new task force to combat the growing problem of metals theft that his hitting homeowners and businesses throughout the region. The Metal Thefts Team is being called the area's first law enforcement group dedicated to investigating the thefts, which include everything from ripping copper gutters off homes to breaking into Baltimore Gas and Electric facilities and taking electronic devices. The president of BGE, Ken DeFontes, is expected to join Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and Police Chief Jim Johnson at the announcement, at a BGE training center in White Marsh.
NEWS
By Peter Hermann | May 16, 2012
A day after Baltimore County police set up a task force to target metal thieves who strip homes and businesses, tactical officers found themselves surrounding an abandoned state hospital building where two men were trying to steal copper pipes. Someone called about two suspicious men in an asbestos-laden building at Spring Grove State Hospital in Catonsville on Tuesday afternoon. The bystander saw the men carrying crow-bars and saws into the building, closed since 1974, according to Maryland State Police.
NEWS
By Peter Hermann | May 15, 2012
As discussed on Monday, Baltimore County police announced a task force to combat the growing problem of metals theft. The Sun's Arthur Hirsch writes about the new program, and some other unique ways to go after the thieves. Baltimore Gas and Electric is going to start painting its copper wires lime green, so that when they show up at recycling plants, the person behind the counter will know they're stolen and not offer money. Thieves stole so much BGE wire earlier this year that it knocked out power to homes in Essex.
NEWS
By Peter Hermann | May 14, 2012
Baltimore County police are announcing today a new task force to combat the growing problem of metals theft that his hitting homeowners and businesses throughout the region. The Metal Thefts Team is being called the area's first law enforcement group dedicated to investigating the thefts, which include everything from ripping copper gutters off homes to breaking into Baltimore Gas and Electric facilities and taking electronic devices. The president of BGE, Ken DeFontes, is expected to join Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and Police Chief Jim Johnson at the announcement, at a BGE training center in White Marsh.
NEWS
By Arthur Hirsch, The Baltimore Sun | May 14, 2012
After the power failed in an Essex neighborhood earlier this year, BGE officials discovered that someone had been stealing copper wire from the tops of utility poles. Oddly enough, however, they found no marks on the poles indicating that the culprit had climbed roughly 40 feet to reach the wire. Baltimore County police figured they might have their suspect when an officer on patrol in Dundalk spotted an unmarked white Ford van equipped with a bucket lift, and a man alongside the van stripping insulation from copper wire, according to a police report.
NEWS
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | April 23, 2012
Two Baltimore men who owned a warehouse have pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiring to transport stolen nickel, which had been imported through the Port of Baltimore, the U.S. attorney's office announced Monday. Gregg Lee Purbaugh, 50, and Kenneth Trainum, 44, were charged after Homeland Security agents caught them in November 2011 removing unmarked sacks of nickel briquettes from a shipping container next to their Bear Creek warehouse and loading them in a truck. According to their plea agreements, Purbaugh and Trainum began removing nickel from their warehouse in 2006 that belonged to an international mining company for which they were storing it. Over the next five years, working through another co-conspirator, Purbaugh sold 80,000 pounds of nickel worth about $1 million to a Pittsburgh scrap metal company, according to the U.S. attorney's office.
NEWS
By Peter Hermann, The Baltimore Sun | March 14, 2012
With an increasing number of elusive culprits ripping gutters and downspouts from homes, stripping wires and stealing statues from front lawns, Baltimore County police turned to a new tool in law enforcement — a Global Positioning System device. Detectives said they attached the device to a silver Honda Civic after a Pikesville homeowner videotaped two people trying unsuccessfully to stuff a neighbor's statue of a boy and a kite into the compact car. It was the day after someone stole two monkey statues from the front of the same house.
NEWS
By Tricia Bishop | June 8, 2012
Four civilians working at Aberdeen Proving Ground were indicted Friday on charges they stole more than 50,000 pounds of government copper and aluminum, worth $212,000, from the U.S. Army facility. Electricians Timothy J. Bittner, 52, of Bel Air; Steven M..Coale, 33, of North East; and Robert W. Reynolds, 29, of Felton, Pa. are charged in one indictment with conspiracy and theft for allegedly stealing more than 25,000 pounds of copper fixtures and wire, then selling it to metal recyclers in Maryland and surrounding states for $87,000.
NEWS
By Peter Hermann | December 9, 2011
Stripping metal from houses and stealing bronze statues and grates has been a virtual career for many years in Baltimore. Catching people in the act is rare. And rarer still is actually getting your stolen property back before it gets melted down as scrap. But one lucky homeowner in Pikesville not only got his stolen monkeys returned -- Hear No Evil and Speak No Evil -- but his neighbor caught the culprits on video when they came back the next day for another statue. They left behind a third monkey the set, See No Evil.
NEWS
By Peter Hermann, The Baltimore Sun | December 4, 2011
They came for Benjamin Feldman's copper gutters the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, ripping two 10-foot sections from each side of his stone house in Homeland. Last week, someone made off with downspouts from a house around the corner. There was another theft, and several attempted, on nearby Saint Dunstans Road. A month ago on North Charles Street, a Homeland homeowner chased away two would-be gutter thieves in the middle of the afternoon. A home in Ruxton was stripped of its copper on Tuesday.
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