Posted: Aug 1, 2012 7:48 PM
Updated: Aug 2, 2012 8:28 AM
TUCSON - Metal thieves continue to run wild in Tucson, but police are teaming up with the media to fight back.
A series of public service announcements launched Wednesday to target the thieves by making public more aware of what to watch out for.
The launch started at KVOI because the station is one of the many victims of metal theft here in Tucson.
They've been hit a number of times and it really interfered with business. It of course made the general manager very angry, so he decided to do something about it. He called TPD with the idea to put some public service announcements together and the cops said let's do it.
From pool pumps to metal grates, air conditioners, and light posts. You name it; it's probably been a target.
Doug Martin is the president of Good News Radio Broadcasting. He said, "They get a few bucks worth of copper and it costs us a thousand dollars.
For KVOI it started with small things like an air conditioner but that was just the beginning. They later lost some important pieces to the transmitter, which knocked them off the air.
Martin said, "It's extremely costly and what if there's an emergency? We can't report the emergency. There are safety issues, but then to put us back online after they've done that it costs us tens of thousands of dollars."
They're back on the air now and they're using those same air waves to fight back.
Tucson Police Department Sergeant Maria Hawke said, "We have the component of the investigators, but before we can even get to that investigative component there has to be the component of the public notifying us immediately upon any theft that happens."
Martin added, "This campaign really talks to people and lets them know if you see somebody that shouldn't be there at some business or park pulling wire out, report it."
They're hoping the repetition of a PSA really hammers that message home.
Ed Alexander with KVOI said, "I think it reminds people that it's still happening that it's not going away, so all the stations decided we're going to work together and fight this and you know it's a good fight."
As for the criminals, they aren't being forgotten. Organizers said if the project works and the public becomes more aware, it will not only lead to less theft, but more arrests.
Police said metal thieves are often repeat offenders so even just a few arrests can make a huge difference.
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