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US ‘sting’ reveals metals transgressions

United States – Following a three-month undercover investigation, a sting operation has led to the apprehension of six local recycling plant employees in connection with the sale of stolen copper wire and other metals, Sacramento police spokesman Justin Eklund has confirmed.

Detectives posed as metals sellers to establish whether sites they visited were abiding by California law. And according to Mr Eklund, they encountered a number of violations at Tomra Recycling Network and at River City Waste Recycle.

The nature of the violations varied in terms of severity. ‘€˜Everything from being paid cash immediately on the spot for metals, not accepting identification, or accepting identification that clearly was not the seller of the copper,’€™ Mr Eklund told the local ‘€˜Sacramento Bee’€™ newspaper. ‘€˜Some of the recyclers also used the ID numbers of sellers who were not present in the transaction, and accepted metals that clearly belonged to municipal and utility companies,’€™ it was added.

Californian law demands the seller’€™s name, driver’€™s licence/plate number and thumbprint, and a photo of the material being sold. Additionally, money may only be exchanged three days after the sale. According to Mr Eklund, similar investigations will continue and more arrests are expected to be made.

A wave of metal thefts has caused up to 15% of the city’€™s streetlights to black out to date, City Manager John Shirey estimates. He also claims that the ‘€˜epidemic’€™ has cost the city around US$ 900 000 and that an extra US$ 2 million might have to be spent on repairs.

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