alert system helps recover stolen property
A brazen art heist in the Washington, D.C.
area was solved thanks to an alert posted by the scrap industry’s
online theft alert system.
ScrapTheftAlert.com is a free theft notification web site that
allows police to send detailed descriptions of stolen items to
recycling operations and other law enforcement within a 100-plus
mile radius of a theft. The system also allows scrap processors
to alert law enforcement when they are offered suspicious materials
at the scrap yard. The system currently has over 7,000 subscribers.
Nearly 2,500 law enforcement professionals in the United States
and Canada are registered to use the system.
Five bronze sculptures were stolen from a museum in Montgomery
County, Maryland. The theft was noticed and reported to police.
An employee of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI)
based in Washington, D.C., heard a report of the theft on a local
news radio station. ISRI employees posted an alert for the missing
The employees at Montgomery Scrap Corporation read the alert,
recognized the materials that had been sold to the scrap yard
and contacted Montgomery County police. The materials had not
been initially recognized as artwork because the bronzes had
been damaged prior to being offered for sale at the scrap yard.
To aid the investigation, Montgomery Scrap Corporation also supplied
police with a copy of the drivers’ license of the seller which
lead to the police issuing an arrest warrant.
For more information and to subscribe to the nationwide theft
alert system, visit www.scraptheftalert.com.