County To Crackdown On Metal Thefts

By: Michel Mason Email
By: Michel Mason Email

Metal thieves are cashing in on anything they can get their hands on and officials in one Eastern Kentucky county say enough is enough.

Pike County Judge Executive Wayne T. Rutherford says the problem is getting out of hand. In some cases, he says these thieves are putting lives at risk.

"There's no way that any one agency can fight this fight alone. We have to have everybody involved," said Kentucky State Police Trooper Scott Hopkins.

The state police post in Pikeville says it investigates an average of 10 metal or copper thefts each month. That's aside from the dozens of similar complaints to the sheriff's office and city police departments.

Judge Rutherford says he and other law enforcement officials across the county are so concerned about the problem, he's contacted the Attorney General to see what action can be taken outside of state laws already in place.

"Since the legislature is not in session, anything that we can come up with that we can pass a local county ordinance, a county law and see if we can't stop this," added Judge Rutherford.

He says many scrap dealers refuse to accept stolen metal - like drainage grates, guardrails and copper.

"But there's some of them evidently are not. Somewhere, someplace they're taking this metal and we got to figure out who it is. Who's the bad apples," said Judge Rutherford.

He wants thieves and buyers to know they won't get by with stripping metal for long.

On Monday, Judge Rutherford hopes to meet with the Pike County Sheriff, state police and both the county and commonwealth's attorneys to discuss what they can do about metal thefts.

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