05/28/08 — Man accused of stealing scrap metal

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Man accused of stealing scrap metal

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on May 28, 2008 1:45 PM

County authorities say a man accused of stealing a junked car and a pile of scrap metal from an elderly Seven Springs woman now faces charges.

Joshua Paul Barnett, 18, Clifton Ridge Drive in Pikeville-Pleasant Grove Township, was jailed under a $3,600 secured bond after a detective's investigation, Wayne County Sheriff's Office Capt. Tom Effler said.

Barnett's charges include larceny of a motor vehicle and possession of stolen goods, according to a news release.

The missing car and scrap went unnoticed by the 60-year-old woman for a few days, authorities said.

However, the Sheriff's Office was able to piece the case together by checking local scrap yards, detectives reported.

Capt. Effler said that the victim's car was taken to Kemp Recyclers on South George Street where it was sold for scrap.

But Barnett's charges are hardly the first time local law enforcement has dealt with a metal scrapping-related crime.

The Sheriff's Office has begun to officially "crack down" on illegal metals recycling, which Sheriff Carey Winders says is plaguing the area.

Goldsboro Investigator Dave Cloutier handles reports of precious metals theft in the city, and said reports have been widespread in that jurisdiction as well.

National news organizations report the problem reaches far beyond Goldsboro, though, with rampant reports of illegal scrapping stretching from California to Florida.

Winders said the problem can be attributed in part to the rising price of copper, which has hit nearly $4 per pound on the commodities market.

But new laws that came into effect Dec. 1 may help some, Winders and Cloutier said.

Cloutier explained that those laws "almost turn metal scrappers into pawn shops," requiring photo identification and a physical address when people attempt to sell metal.

Police can also stop any vehicle carrying more than 25 pounds of copper, and can check the receipt of the person carrying the metal.