PITTSBURGH Baltimore County in Maryland has created a scrap-metals theft task force, a move which it said was unprecedented in the state.
"This is first task force of its kind in the state of Maryland," Baltimore County Police Chief James W. Johnson said in a televised interview discussing the new effort to target metal thieves.
The team will operate as part of the county police property crimes division and include a corporal and four detectives.
In addition to analyzing daily incident reports to detect metals-theft trends, members of the task force will monitor regional developments, network with other agencies, develop relationships with scrap companies and teach property owners how to protect themselves.
Johnson noted that the number of metals-theft reports filed has tripled since 2009, while copper theft rates have shot up by 450 percent. A local utility company is now painting its copper wire green so local scrapyards can easily identify it.