The Main Stream

Aug 3, 2012 8:29 PM

Metal thieves targeting fast food restaurants

TUCSON- Startling numbers from the Tucson Police Department regarding metal thefts.

News 4 Tucson has learned, since January thieves have made off with $2,000,000 worth of metal.

It's a problem that is hitting everywhere including of all places, some fast food restaurants across from the Tucson Mall.

McDonald's General Manager Scott Tomei says, last fall, a man with a backpack walked in during the dinner rush hour went into the men's restroom. He was there five to eight minutes. Another customer came out to tell him he couldn't flush the toilet. Turns out the man with the backpack and ripped off the brass fittings on top of the urinal and the toilet, put them in his back pack and left. Tomei says this was a major inconvenience for the customers and the employees.

McDonald's wasn't the only target. "The general manager of Arby's came over and asked if we had the same problem I said yes, we collaborated between video and witnesses and were able to get some information to the police to try and stop this," said Tomei.

Tucson police say metal thefts are a huge problem. Lt. Tom Earley says, "I would certainly think the economic times would have something to do with it. But I think by in large is that they have found that there is a value in this metal it's easy to get and it's easy to dispose of those are the things we are trying to solve."

Changes have been made. At McDonald's they've increased security and at Arby's they've had to lock the restroom and will open them up for customers. All in an effort this in an effort to keep employees and customers safe..

Tucson police tells News 4, in May they implemented their metal theft reduction and apprehension plan or M-TRAP. They've made nearly 30 arrests.

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