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Scrap Yard Security Makes Copper Theft Complicated

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Amarillo, TX - According to a local recycling company, selling stolen scrap metal for money isn't as easy as one might think.

With recent reports of copper theft in the area, a local recycling company said criminals might be doing a disservice to themselves by trying to profit from what they've stolen.

In 2012, copper prices were at their highest with pure copper being worth around $4/lb.

Today, copper prices are on the decline, costing about $3/lb...and this is pure copper.

Copper coils found in A/C units, which are commonly stolen, aren't worth as much as thieves would hope.

Keegan Buchanan, manager at  Amarillo Recyclying, said  copper reefer units are $1/lb, because of the mixture of copper an aluminum, making it not pure.

And that's not all that makes stealing this copper a bust.

The security measures enforced by scrap yards could cause a bust as well...literally.

Buchanan said in order to sell this type of regulated material, a valid state issued I.D. is required, and then scanned into a database system.

Once the data is scanned, vehicle information is taken as well.

Make, model, color and license plate tags are taken from every vehicle entering with materials.

 Material is then set on a scale and weighed, with camera's surveying the type of materials laid out.

"In addition to that, once the customer comes in to get paid, we take a facial photo of them standing at the counter in close proximity to their face in a very detailed picture of them getting paid," Buchanan said. 

After these transactions have been made, all data is sent to the Texas Department of Public Safety for record keeping.

A metal theft and trespass list, issued by local law enforcement, is used by employees to keep a watch out.

Buchanan said although the security measures are not perfect, it's probably not in anyone's best interest to sell stolen material.

He also said  if any suspicious person or known suspect tries to sell materials to a scrap yard, they are able to easily identify them and call the police to pick up the subject.

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