The Main Stream

Sep 26, 2012 12:32 AM by Sean Mooney

With metal theft on the rise Tucson leaders meet to find solutions

TUCSON - Metal theft has become a billion-dollar industry for thieves across the country and the problem is getting out of control right here in Tucson.

Through july of this year over $2 million worth of metal has been stolen from businesses, homeowners and the city of Tucson.

On Tuesday, business leaders, legislators and Tucson Police gathered, at the Sheraton Tucson, to discuss methods to combat the problem.

Amber Smith, of the Metropolitan Pima Alliance, says that while there are several options it will take the entire community working together to stop the looting.

"The more awareness, the more neighborhood watch programs," Smith said. "Just increases the security and will help prevent the problem overall."

Metal theft has escalated with the rising cost of metals, particularly copper.

Tucson police estimate that up to 85% of the people who commit the crime are drug users.

Tucson Police Lt. Tom Earley says one solution is to go after places that buy stolen metal. "There are 100's of people doing this", Earley said. "Our most effective job is to try and break that connection and stop their ability to transfer that stolen metal to someone who is purchasing it."

The event was also a fundraiser for 88-crime. The money raised will be set aside just for metal theft crime reporting.

To learn more on how you can prevent metal theft go to metaltheft@tep.com.

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