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December 2006

Stealing scrap metal is wrong

Washington— The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) wants to remind would-be thieves that attempting to steal metals will land you in jail and possibly in the morgue.

Recently, several deaths have been reported resulting from thieves attempting to steal energized electric utility wires. An example can be found in news reports from Detroit about an individual trying to cut a 440 volt power line, apparently attempting to steal the wire.

"Stealing materials, especially from utilities, carries extreme risk to the thief, to emergency personnel and to the public," said ISRI president Robin Wiener.

The danger from attempting to steal live electrical lines and other infrastructure materials doesn't stop with the life of the thief. The resulting loss of electricity can be a major burden on the sick, particularly those who depend on electronic equipment for life support.

Thefts of cables that operate railroad switches and signal lights have also been reported. "The potential danger to rail commuters and employees is beyond imagination," Wiener said. "As costly as stolen metals can be to replace, the far greater cost is that of irreplaceable lives."

ISRI is working vigorously to do its part to solve the scrap theft problem. It is partnering with the National Crime Prevention Council to help educate law enforcement about the industry and the tools ISRI has available to aid law enforcement, such as the Scrap Theft Alert system.

For information about the Scrap Theft Alert system, visit www.isri.org/TheftAlert.


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