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  • "Copper Theft A Possible Factor In Metro Detroit Freeway Flooding"

    DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - Scrap metal thieves are adding to the delays in getting water cleared from flooded roads.

    Officials say copper piping stolen from pumping stations used to clear water from the freeways might have been a contributing factor in this week’s major highway flooding.
    <http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2014/08/...eeway-flooding>

    I don't know what regulations the city council enacted several years ago when thieves were taking air conditioners out of windows to get at the copper tuning inside, but I'm sure all the recyclers in the city are complying with those requirements. That'll reduce the profit motive.
    --
    Capital Punishment means never having to say "you again?"

  • #2
    If you want a laugh, read the comments. I was shocked that they were on a CBS news site.

    In fairness, if I was a piece of copper in Detroit, I'd leave too.
    This one had me rolling.

    Comment


    • #3
      Metals theft is a big and growing problem, I have seen where a lifesized or larger than lifesized bronze statue of a horse with a rider was stolen by scrappers from a race track in the middle of the night- they managed to make use of some frontend loader or the like from a nearby construction site and used that to pull the bronze statue off it's pedistal.
      The police found parts of it at a scrap yard.
      The bronze statue was worth about $250,000 and the scrap was worth about $5000 as I remember.

      A 3 foot tall ca 1889 antique bronze bell weighing roughly 900# was stolen from "The sweetest heart of Mary Church"- in Detroit, they broke through an iron gate to get at it.

      What gets me is that these scrap yards buying all this obviously stolen material are not being cracked down hard on, I mean when a couple of greasers drive up in an old rust-bucket beater and the trunk is full of brand new obviously never used heavy copper utility company power cables, or a bronze bell (most have inscriptions on them) or chunks of an obvious statue you just know the scrap yard people know these two greasers didn't just find that stuff in the trash can, nor did they just happen to have it sitting in their garage and they decided to clean it out!

      There was a large piece of cast-iron, one of several that my boss had rescued about 25 years ago from a nearby 1880s era building that had collapsed, there are four large cast iron decorative columns about 16' long weighing about 1,000# each or more (the iron walls are 1: thick) and a flat pilar face with decorative designs on it about 8-10' long weighing maybe 400#. They have sat in the boss' lot next to the warehouse for at least 15 years.
      The 400# piece was stolen one night, someone saw the guy who took it (he is known, and an older 'greaser' type loser) he just decided it was his now, loaded it in his pickup and drove off with it. He was confronted by the foreman months later when the theft was discovered, but nothing ever became of it and the guy passed away since.

      Comment


      • #4
        My question is why didn't they know about this problem earlier? Don't they inspect anything anymore?

        BTW, I thoroughly enjoyed my ride home Monday night and my ride to work Tuesday morning through some....questionable....neighborhoods due to the closure of some freeways and flooded secondary roads.

        Thank God I was armed. I think I'm going to start keeping an M4 in my trunk.
        Originally posted by RSGSRT
        We've reached a point where natural selection doesn't have a chance in hell of keeping up with the procreation of imbeciles.
        Why is it acceptable for you to be an idiot, but not acceptable for me to point it out?

        Comment


        • #5
          "Copper Theft A Possible Factor In Metro Detroit Freeway Flooding"













          Them thar' dirty bastard'z!!!!!

          Just like em'z!!!!

          Now thar' steal'in all my buddies!!!!


          PoPo, PopO'z....gett'in stolen!!!!

          Bad nuff if they heist thar' car thiNgy or duty belt....BUTT, steal'in a coppa'!!!!!!

          Thats thar' tiz' a Outrage I do say!!!!!












          You stupid idiot!
          Not cops, copper!



          Shut up Trig....

          Don't lie'z ta' me!!!

          Da' student O' jerbil'z voodoo'z done did declAre it'z!!!
          Originally posted by mookster
          Sully, usually I hafta glance over your posts cuz my brain would have issues with the imagery you portray, however with that one I get it. I agree one hundred percent with ya.
          Originally posted by CityCopDC
          I swear to god you are not human. I know a rogue VI when I see one.
          Originally posted by OfficerDotCom
          I think no one is probably happier than Sully and I that we ARE NOT the same person.(seriously thanking God for that one).
          -Frank




          Old Physicists neva' die, they just hop on a horsey and fly away inta' an infinitely massive black ho ...

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Aerohead View Post
            My question is why didn't they know about this problem earlier? Don't they inspect anything anymore?
            It seems like it would be NO, which is amazing because they can stop this whole scrap theft thing dead in it's tracks pretty much- by cracking down on the shady scrap DEALERS who buy this stuff, it's not rocket science to figure out that brand new looking 300 pound coil of copper wire or boxes full of dozens of brass faucetts in the back of some loser's car trunk was STOLEN, it's not a matter of training scrap yard employees either- they can't be that stupid not to know the stuff is stolen.

            I've read of cemetaries having their 19th century wrought-iron gates, brass flower holders and even brass veteran grave markers stolen.
            This stuff is not easy to melt down by thieves either, I know from casting bronze years ago that it takes a LOT of heat to melt down anything other than aluminum and lead, even in a good sized college owned commercial gas furnace it took the better part of an hour just to melt about 5# or 10# of brass scraps.

            Oh it's not just metal any more that's stolen either, in Detroit there is an Art Deco styled hotel on the historic register that had closed down, but they concrete blocked the lower floor windows up. Vandals and scrappers broke holes in and stole everything they could rip out, they even tore up the entire copper roof which was like the 17th floor, the roof was a gabled roof and had some decorative ornaments too- all of it torn off and scrapped, no one sees a thing!
            With the loss of the roof the entire building is open to all the rain and snow.
            Then they ripped every one of the aluminum window frames out after breaking the glass out, every window now became completely open to the elements, no one saw a thing.
            The final straw was when all of the terracotta ornaments were yanked out of the brick facade, including about 55 lion mask sculptures that were below the window sills on one of the upper floors.

            The police and FBI got involved then and found half of the lion sculptures at a Chicago salvage dealer/antique store who claimed he bought them off someone in Maine at a flea market or some such BS. These would be valued at between $2500 and $4000 each at the retail level.

            The way they found them was this salvage place sold four of the lions to a developer who not knowing they were stolen- incorporated them into a new facade he was building in another city (St Louis I believe,) and on their web site and in a brochure they ran a feature story about the four unique historic sculptures and where they came from- they named the hotel in Detroit not knowing these items had all been stolen!
            Someone read that and made some calls and that's how the police and FBI got involved, because the hotel was still owned by the city and no one had authorized removal of these items, and there were plans to rehab the hotel and save it.

            Unfortunately, with so much damage and the roof gone for so long, it's probably beyond any possible rehab now.

            Here's some photos, before and after, the lions were under the windows on the top floor and can be seen in the before, and the holes where they were in the "after" along with the broken-out windows and missing copper roof:



            An overview shot- every window gone, security fence around it cut, and the concrete blocks in the doorway broken out:



            Here's what was recovered that was sitting in storage in police lock-up about 10 years ago, no idea what their status is but the building is now well beyond saving and reinstalling these:

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Aerohead View Post
              BTW, I thoroughly enjoyed my ride home Monday night and my ride to work Tuesday morning through some....questionable....neighborhoods due to the closure of some freeways and flooded secondary roads.

              Thank God I was armed.

              There is a very interesting channel on youtube called "The Shea Show" he lives in Detroit and rehabs houses and connects interested people with decent houses they can buy and rent out as an investment, he also helps find and manage tenants for them.
              He often does drive-around videos and oh man some of the neighborhoods he shows in the videos are just insane- these are the neighborhoods he warns viewers against buying anything in but often recounts how people in Australia, UK other foreign countries and other states will fall for real estate ads for some of these houses and actually buy them with no research at all because the pictures look good and the price is dirt cheap!

              Often these very same people wind up contacting this guy Shea asking him about rehabbing their newly bought bargains, he'll take the video camera around the neighborhood the house is in and you can see almost every other house around is a burned-out stripped, abandoned piece of junk, he advises them to not put a cent into the house they bought and walk away.
              One out of state woman buyer bought what she thought was a real nice house for something like $5,000, sight unseen except by an exterior photo! it looked cute on the outside but when they opened the front door OMG... the entire interior was just... shreaded... is about the only word I can think of that applies, everything was gone, furnace, waterheater, plumbing, toilet, tub, walls and floors broken full of holes, windows broken, the roof in the back had holes, it would have cost her $50,000 just to make it liveable, but worse yet was the neighborhood, not terrible but bad enough.

              Shea shows houses he works on or manages as rentals for people all around Detroit, and one common thing you see is they almost all have alarm systems connected to an alarm company, steel security bars on the lower windows, steel security gates over the front door and so on, that's a good clue what the neighborhood is like!

              He had to "evict" from one of these houses a drug dealing gang who was squatting in the house, he had balls! the next day the house was burned down- he made videos both times.

              Here he a drive thru to show 7 houses someone bought on ebay for $5000 that they were told were worth $200,000:

              Some poor Person bought 7 properties on Ebay for 5k,, Here they are,, The Shea Show



              War Zone- abandoned houses on The Shea Show,
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_GsELePVz0

              Here we go Again, Drug dealers took over tim's house on westside, Now its happen again at Daniels property, Part 1, the shea show
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dh8qKABssMk

              Shea exposes another scam for 38k
              http://youtu.be/WV9gdqAylx4
              Last edited by Sculptor; 08-13-2014, 08:12 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                ^^^ Unreal, that. You might be able to fix up some of those places and eventually take back a neighborhood, but you'd have to work in shifts with other like-minded people so there'd always be somebody on watch in case the drug gangs came back. machgun-right.gif

                Detroit is worse, probably because of more people feeding drug habits, but we get some metal theft around here, too. They'll happily take copper if they can get it, but stuff with a scrap value only around 12¢/lb. isn't safe, either. The steel bars that two mopes swiped off the railroad last July might have brought $4.20 each from a scrapyard, but they cost us upwards of $40 apiece to replace. One of the two suspects was convicted earlier this year of some other thefts, burglaries and miscellaneous mopery in various towns around the same area, and he's less than halfway through his sentence. I think they're the same ones who hit us for about $3400 worth of track materials in 2012. Maybe some day I'll find out who was helping him load up the wheelbarrow last year, and get both of them put away for awhile.

                Last fall, the state track inspector was patrolling a line that MDOT owns and my company would operate if there were any freight customers on it. He caught a guy pulling the spikes out of tie plates with a pry bar and then knocking the plates out from under the rail with a sledgehammer. On another line the state owns, people have taken down crossing signs and cut up rail in various places over the past few years. They should definitely run a "Hi-Rail" truck over that track before they allow a train to use it again, and I'm sure they'll inspect it for damage from "natural causes" too.

                Amtrak had some batteries stolen out of locked signal cases last year in southeast MA; not good when those power a signal system.
                Some of these guys put in more work stealing stuff than they would if they had a real job. Thievin' bastitches.

                The good thing around here is that most of the recyclers are very particular about what they'll buy, with at least one who's bought items they thought were stolen just to keep the property from going to a certain scrapyard known for "not asking too many questions." They buy it, call law enforcement, and maybe get reimbursed by the rightful owner. If the owner wants to "buy back" their property, the recycler sells it to them for whatever amount was paid to the thief, gives the owner a receipt, and then the owner can get (or try to get) restitution once the thief is convicted.

                Sometimes if material gets cut up, or if smaller plates and things are hidden in a pile of junk, the recyclers might not notice it until after the thief has left. "Generic" plates and bars off the railroad might not be readily apparent as stolen property, but those statues and other things Sculptor showed should have raised some eyebrows. The buyer should have at least made the seller sign a statement "that the seller is the owner or is otherwise authorized to sell the scrap metal on a form provided by the buyer that conspicuously bears the warning that making a false statement is a Class D crime..." (Maine Title 30, Sec. 3772. Hasn't stopped metal theft, and maybe won't until the buyers who skirt the law get put out of business, but it's better than what we had before it was enacted.)

                Something new from the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries: http://www.isri.org/stop-metals-theft
                Last edited by RR_Security; 08-13-2014, 11:56 PM. Reason: Typos.
                --
                Capital Punishment means never having to say "you again?"

                Comment


                • #9
                  ^^^ Unreal, that. You might be able to fix up some of those places and eventually take back a neighborhood, but you'd have to work in shifts with other like-minded people so there'd always be somebody on watch in case the drug gangs came back.

                  Detroit is worse, probably because of more people feeding drug habits, but we get some metal theft around here, too.
                  There are videos on Youtube that unlike Shea's show are just drive-arounds showing the sheer level of destruction in Detroit, it's absolutely unreal when you see these neighborhoods- entire blocks with nothing but abandoned, stripped, vandalized houses and overgrown weed choked garbage filled lots. Then you cross one of the avenues and on the other side is actually a nice neighborhood with trees, decent houses all occupied and lawns kept up.

                  Other blocks shown display nothing but bare grass and weeds where there once stood rows of houses- they were all so damaged and beyond any hope the city bulldozed the whole block flat and soon the grasses, trees and weeds grew back.
                  They will have to bulldoze down a substantial number of the rest of these abandoned houses because no one wants them, no one wants to live there, and once the roof is breached the walls and floors start caving in and rotting very quickly and then it's way too late to rehab them.

                  Some of those 2 story brick houses I saw in the videos looked like they were very nice, decorative elements, leaded glass windows, really nice arched brick portico entrances, probably built in the 1920s era and their roofs are caved in, windows gone and beyond any hope.

                  You go down town and some of the videos show big skyscrapers, hotels and office buildings totally abandoned and for years. Once again- once the roof is breached and water pours in that's pretty much the end even in those buildings- the steel support structure and steel rebar concrete floors start corroding and failing and the costs to deal with that is astronomical.
                  Detroit's big problem was the city was built up for and around the automobile as the one product that supported the city and infrastructure, that's why most of the streets downtown are ridicuously wide- the automobile.
                  Once the auto industry started failing the city went with it.

                  These are good documentary type videos that show the downtown, a banker takes a reporter around showing him forclosed properties and tells him that yes, many homes there can be bought for $1 and people don't want them.
                  All the homes and buildings are completely stripped.

                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ii3r4X5Woo

                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PM8Cjrb2c2w

                  The Ruins of Detroit- at 3:50 the fancy room with the overturned grand piano is actually the lobby of that hotel I detailed earlier with pictures.

                  Last edited by Sculptor; 08-14-2014, 01:08 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Something new from the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries: http://www.isri.org/stop-metals-theft
                    That looks good RR_Security.

                    I know here I got rid of some scrap aluminum from my house when I replaced the windows and storm windows a few years ago, I took it to the scrap yard South of town in the next town, they weighed it and gave me a receipt after checking my driver's license- they mail a check to you they don't pay you cash on the spot, now THAT'S a start at solving the problem!
                    It should be required of all of them, no more cash on the spot, require a photo ID/driver's license and then mail the check to the person's physical address.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      That's what Maine did a few years ago. I've heard of some sellers asking to have the checks made out to their wife, girlfriend, or grandmother, but recyclers have told me they won't issue the check to anyone except the person who shows photo ID.

                      I wish more recyclers were like the one that bought some railroad crossing signs last year (those are aluminum extrusions) just so the stolen signs wouldn't end up at "that other place" known for not asking many questions. They paid the seller, he left, and they started making calls. We got our signs back.

                      But it only takes one or two of the less scrupulous buyers to screw up the system. Heck, I've even heard of a place in MA where some thieves from ME will go to sell stolen materials. Kind of a long ride for maybe a small payment, but I s'pose it's all "profit" when they're selling something they stole from somebody else.
                      --
                      Capital Punishment means never having to say "you again?"

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        "They paid the seller, he left, and they started making calls. We got our signs back."
                        I'm somewhat mystified why they aren't charged with receiving stolen property or something, maybe it's difficult to prove but if they were able to identify the stuff enough to call the railroad then they knew it was stolen when they bought it.

                        This problem can be solved if there's enough motivation to do what you said Maine does and the other places that require photo ID, mailing checks to a physical address etc do, but the motivation isn't really there, meanwhile cemetaries are losing historic antique gates, veterans' markers, plaques, flower holders, faucets and more. That church whose 1889 bronze bell was stolen I never heard if they got it back, large bells like that one cost $50,000 and more- lots more, the insurance had to pay for the loss and as we all know the insurance company doesn't really pay anything, we do with higher premiums.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          From what I understand, they are working on a scrap bill, but the scrap places (of course) are fighting back against it because it will hurt their business. I would assume illegal scrapping is very profitable for them because they can pretty much set the price and how much profit they want out of the deal, and it's not like the illegal scrappers can complain to anyone.

                          Edited to add: Apparently, the bill passed, so the illegal scrapping that caused the flooding problem must have happened before March.

                          http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/25...rap-metal-bill

                          Or they're still doing it illegally. Which wouldn't shock me.
                          Last edited by Aerohead; 08-14-2014, 03:39 PM.
                          Originally posted by RSGSRT
                          We've reached a point where natural selection doesn't have a chance in hell of keeping up with the procreation of imbeciles.
                          Why is it acceptable for you to be an idiot, but not acceptable for me to point it out?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Those detroit vids and pics WOW. I always said the same thing about scrap places, they would close down entirely if they actually stopped accepting all the obvioulsy stolen stuff that they do. The majority of people i see at our scrap yards are obvious dope addicts. We had a bunch of city sewer grates stolen one year. These things clearly say "city of _____" on them yet the scrap yards were still taking them lol. Patrol tip: You can make some good arrest by stopping shady cars /people coming out of your local scrap yards!
                            "Its not what you know, its what you can prove."-Training Day

                            "Game on, bitches. Whoop whoop, flash the lights, pull it over."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The scrap yard I go to is great. They check your ID first, no matter what. If you are in their system you are good to go, assuming you have something they'll take. I think they've made a conscious effort to be ahead of the curve on this.

                              Comment

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