By Paul Ploumis 10 Jul 2015 Last updated at 08:37:46 GMT
EL DORADO (Scrap Monster): The Arkansas Attorney General (AG) Leslie Rutledge has announced the launch of a new state-wide initiative to curb scrap metal theft. According to the newly launched “Metal Theft Prevention Programme”, special investigators from AG’s office would provide training sessions for both law enforcement officers and scrap metal dealers across the state. The week-long training sessions will be held during end-July in Jonesboro, Texarkana, Mountain Home, Fort Smith, Monticello, Little Rock, Fayetteville, West Memphis and El Dorado.
According to Leslie Rutledge, the damage caused by scrap metal thieves is costly. The state and its institutions have reported millions in losses due to theft from public property. For instance, AT&T has reported 65 theft attempts on company cables and equipment so far this year, resulting in a huge loss of nearly $655,000. In 2014, the company had suffered damages of about $1.5 million in almost 130 theft cases altogether. Also, scrap metal thieves have been rampant in rural areas.
Earlier in 2009, the state had implemented scrap metal law that requires dealers to record transactions electronically. In 2013, the state had further tightened the licensing requirements for scrap metal dealers and increased the penalty for violation of the law to $1,000. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the state was ranked fifth in the country in 2012 in terms of metal theft claims. However, the theft incidents have declined considerably since 2013.
The “Metal Theft Prevention Programme” also features spot inspections at scrap vendor facilities starting August this year, Leslie Rutledge said in her news conference.