LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - Thieves, targeting AC units hit two Lawton businesses over the weekend.
Lawton Police Officer said with these types of crimes, they partner with local businesses, like scrap yards and recycling centers, to help catch the thieves. Hodges Recycling Center in Lawton has a system they use to keep track of every item that comes into the center.
“When people bring us copper, or whatever, we take it and we’ll weigh it out, and we’ll get their ID and take a picture of what they brought in, and then after they do that, they’ll go out to their vehicle and take a picture of their tag and the vehicle," said Mike Hodges, owner of Hodges Recycling Center. "Then, we’ll proceed to make them a ticket ,and then they’ll go up here and they’ll get paid for what they do bring. The lady at the pay window will take a picture of their ID to go with the paperwork.”
These records can help police locate stolen items.
“When you try to sell stolen equipment, it may come up flagged," said Sgt. Timothy Jenkins with the Lawton Police Department. "So when that happens, we’re able to go and make contact with that business, see who brought it in, make contact with that person and hopefully get some more information off that equipment from that person about where they got it and what happened with it.”
Hodges said unfortunately, there is not a way to determine if the metals brought in are stolen just by looking at them. So, he says it is best that they go ahead and buy the goods so they have a record of them.
“Because somebody would come in and we’d say, ‘we know that copper’s stolen.’ Well, before we’d say something like that, they’d just grab it and take off‚” said Hodges. “But as long as we buy it, we’ve got who they were and the picture of what they brought in and their ID and got what kind of vehicle they’re driving, which that could help the police.”
That working relationship has helped catch thieves over the years.
“We try to work together," said Hodges. "That’s all we can do. I mean, we’re not going to stop it all, but at least try to stop some of it.”
Sgt. Jenkins says if you have any information on these crimes, or any crimes in the future, give Crime Stoppers a call at 355-INFO, or call the Lawton Police Department.