When $1.15 adds up to a sting, mug shots and overkill

Apr 20, 2009 | 10:13 AM |

In their zeal to curb metal thievery, some local police departments may be taking their responsibility to enforce the law to excess.

A case in point Police in Knoxville, Tenn., carried out a "sting" operation several weeks ago in which they ultimately netted two scrap dealers for what might be called bookkeeping crimes.

At Rimmer Brothers Recycling, an undercover officer offered to sell some copper scrap to the scrapyard. The amount offered was so small that it netted him a little more than a dollar. In Knoxville, however, scrapyards are required to take the seller's name and address and mail him a check for the metals five days after the purchase.

In this instance, says owner Bob Rimmer, he decided it was a bit over the top to cut a check for $1.15 and drop it in the mail, so he reached into the till and paid the seller in cash. That's when the police swarmed the yard. Now, Rimmer says, it's fingerprints, mug shots and a trip to court. "They told us we could face jail time and a $2,500 fine," he said.....

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