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Transient Meth Head Rakes In $95,000 By Stealing Copper to Support $100-a-Day Meth Habit
Phoenix New Times ^ | Thu., Aug. 4 2011 | James King

Posted on 08/12/2011 10:42:23 AM PDT by golux

Transient meth-head Kirk Wise probably made more money than you did last year -- and he didn't even have a job.

Wise, 45, is a professional copper thief who steals copper wire to support his $100-a-day meth habit. He's pretty good at it, too -- according to Wise, he's netted nearly $100,000 since January of 2010 by selling the copper to scrap-metal recycling businesses throughout the east Valley.

(...)

He admitted to everything -- he said he stole copper to support his meth habit and he'd netted $95,000 since last January. He told police he'd been stealing copper for three to four years, and has remained transient to make it harder for police to find him.

(Excerpt) Read more at blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com ...


TOPICS: Free Republic; Miscellaneous; US: Arizona
KEYWORDS: copper; drugs; economy; libertarian; meth; slavery; utopia
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To: Anti-Bubba182
The dealers don't get checked much and the resort and process the scrap real quick so that would be very difficult. The book is rarely thrown at them. As for the junkie, the worse the better.

Maybe in your neck of the woods.

I know someone who works at a private "recycling center". He is a retired state cop. They are pretty careful not to accept stolen goods. They don't need to. The owner has become quite wealthy without being a fence.

41 posted on 08/12/2011 3:04:53 PM PDT by marktwain (In an age of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.)
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To: golux

Wow... That was enough cash to provide meth to the meth addict for the rest of his short life.


42 posted on 08/12/2011 3:05:29 PM PDT by KoRn (Department of Homeland Security, Certified - "Right Wing Extremist")
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To: MrShoop

How are they supposed to know he’s a homeless meth addict? Ever been to a scrap metal buyer? The demographic isn’t people in suits driving beemers, everybody selling is a bit grungy if only from loading up the metal, and that is the demographic most likely to be hooked on drugs. The mug shot has him looking any old subsistence level person, your basic WalMart customer.

It isn’t obvious, that’s my point. You make a lot of assumptions after the fact, but out here in reality where things haven’t progressed to 20-20 hindsight things aren’t nearly as clear as you ass-u-me.


43 posted on 08/12/2011 3:07:44 PM PDT by discostu (keep on keeping on)
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To: boop
historical artifacts, or graveside urns, they can’t plausibly say “I had NO idea it was stolen”.

You're now bringing in a hypothetical argument here when there is no evidence this scrap yard ever dealt with "historical artifacts".

And furthermore, while there may be isolated instances of what you mentioned occuring, it is unlikely that the scrap metal industry is in the habit of purchasing such artifacts as scrap without notifying the proper authorities.

44 posted on 08/12/2011 3:10:07 PM PDT by Hot Tabasco (You can't forfeit the game Chuck! If you go home you forfeit!)
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To: Hot Tabasco
It is a judgement call - if you looked homeless, and came in with a pile of copper in a shopping cart, the dealer should ask you where you got it, get your contact info, and either buy, send your away, or call the police depending on how sketchy the situation is. How much documentation? At a minimum your drivers license.

It is just preposterous to say that there is no legal, or moral obligation for a buyer of anything to know that what he obtaining is legal. Let me give an extreme to try and clarify:

A sweaty disheveled man runs into a pawn shop. He pulls a purse from under his shirt that has had its straps slashed. He rummages through and pulls out an iPhone with a pink case, holds it up and asks, "how much will you give me for the phone?" I know you wouldn't say that it is ok legally or morally to buy this phone.

You can look at this three ways - a buyer either has zero responsibility, some responsibility, or an absolute responsibility to make sure he is buying legally. You seem to be arguing for zero responsibility, I'm saying you have some responsibility. However, when you are in a high risk business, then your responsibility goes up. Sadly, scrap metal (especially in an urban area) is more and more a theft driven business.

45 posted on 08/12/2011 3:13:34 PM PDT by MrShoop
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To: dfwgator
"You'll never take me alive, Copper!"

My favorite line of the thread.

46 posted on 08/12/2011 3:14:01 PM PDT by denydenydeny (Rage all you want, looters & moochers, but the gods of the copybook headings are your masters now.)
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To: discostu

Scrap yards can read their materials and suppliers.

Back when it was legal to buy materials from them here, you could go to the scrap yards to buy perfect, used materials worth many times their scrap value, as a plumbing contractor I could recognize items of great value, it was pretty obvious that some stealing was taking place, and the yard employees would laughingly agree with you about it.


47 posted on 08/12/2011 3:28:02 PM PDT by ansel12 ( Bristol Palin's book "Not Afraid Of Life: My Journey So Far" became a New York Times, best seller.)
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To: MrShoop

You are exactly correct...the scrapyard owner knows the difference between a construction crew that comes in with the extras from a construction site and someone that just cut the insides out of some stolen AC units.


48 posted on 08/12/2011 3:28:46 PM PDT by willyd (your credibility deficit is screwing up my bs meter...)
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To: discostu
Maybe when his copper collection hit $95,000 (or $1000) it should have raised a question as to where he got it? Assumptions can make you an ass, but not making them can make you an idiot. Would you make an assumption about selling 5000 pounds of fertilizer to an arab in a u-haul? Make an incorrect assumption could make you an ass, but not making it....

What if I could show you that a majority of the scrap at some of these centers was stolen? What that sway you at all?

49 posted on 08/12/2011 3:36:57 PM PDT by MrShoop
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To: ansel12

Cute anecdote, but the plural of anecdote isn’t fact. They can’t know for sure who got the metal how, they aren’t criminal enterprises.


50 posted on 08/12/2011 3:39:44 PM PDT by discostu (keep on keeping on)
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To: MrShoop

According to yellowpages.com there’s 27 scrap metal places in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area. If he spread it around well he hasn’t gotten more than 5 grand from any of them, and that’s for the who year. Meanwhile even if he’s selling to one place there’s perfectly legal ways to get that much scrap copper, he could easily be working for contractors doing demo work, he’s just another scruffy worker, they don’t generally pay the trash hauling guy much he’s low man.

That’s a nice little what if, and since you can’t prove it that actually proves my point. It’s all just metal, most of it doesn’t have serial numbers.


51 posted on 08/12/2011 3:44:11 PM PDT by discostu (keep on keeping on)
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To: MrShoop
Let me give an extreme to try and clarify:

A sweaty disheveled man runs into a pawn shop.

No, no, no, no, no, no........we're talking about a scrap yard, not a pawn shop....Not even a close comparison....

FWIW, all the scrappers I see in their trucks are ALL sweaty and disheveled, not a one did I see wearing a polo shirt and chinos or a sport coat.

Rather than argue needlessly with you anymore, lets put an end to the copper thefts by requiring all salvagers (scrappers) to obtain an annual state license at a cost of $1000, then provide them with the appropriate forms to be filled out in triplicate, for every delivery of scrap to the scrap yard.

Each form will be required for each metal being delivered: One for iron, another for steel, another for aluminum, another for copper, etc, and each form must be signed by each owner of the metal that was salvaged from their property. And one copy must be retained by the seller, another by the scrap yard and the third to be sent into the state.

Upon each delivery to the scrap yard, the yard owner must verify the legal obtainment of each metal from the original owner before he can take delivery and finalize the sale.

Following the sale, each scrapper will be required to maintain his own personal records of each sale to the yard and be required to surrender his records to a state inspector twice a year. And it will be the responsibility of the state inspector to verify those sales records with the scrap yard that was in receipt of those metals.

And just as the firearms industry is regulated by the BATF, the scrap industry can be regulated by a new state office called the Bureau of Scrap......aka: BS

There, that should take care of the problem..........and that should make you very happy!


52 posted on 08/12/2011 3:47:40 PM PDT by Hot Tabasco (You can't forfeit the game Chuck! If you go home you forfeit!)
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To: discostu

My personal experience as a plumbing contractor who has been scrapping materials for decades and many years in or around the demolishing business before that, versus your anecdotal nonsense.


53 posted on 08/12/2011 3:52:36 PM PDT by ansel12 ( Bristol Palin's book "Not Afraid Of Life: My Journey So Far" became a New York Times, best seller.)
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To: ansel12

You’re the one throwing around anecdotes. I’m throwing around reality. Reality is these companies are in the phone book, they aren’t shady, they aren’t criminal enterprises, and you’re throwing around hyperbole like it has meaning.


54 posted on 08/12/2011 3:56:39 PM PDT by discostu (keep on keeping on)
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To: Hot Tabasco; All
Rather than argue needlessly with you anymore, lets put an end to the copper thefts by requiring all salvagers (scrappers) to obtain an annual state license at a cost of $1000, then provide them with the appropriate forms to be filled out in triplicate, for every delivery of scrap to the scrap yard.

You have a good insight into the mind of the nanny state. Very frightening. We are being strangled with regulations.

55 posted on 08/12/2011 4:08:22 PM PDT by marktwain (In an age of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.)
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To: discostu

When you can openly discuss the stolen goods with them that they think they are buying, then yes, they are shady, frankly you don’t seem to know any reality about this business.


56 posted on 08/12/2011 4:10:42 PM PDT by ansel12 ( Bristol Palin's book "Not Afraid Of Life: My Journey So Far" became a New York Times, best seller.)
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To: marktwain

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2757609/posts
Gov. Nikki Haley signed a new bill known as the Copper Theft Bill that makes several changes to the current law regarding the sale and purchase of copper.

Under the new law, anyone who intends to transport and sell any non-ferrous metal, including copper and catalytic converters, to a scrap metal dealer must first obtain a free permit from the sheriff in the county where the seller lives.

There are two types of permits available to the public: one is a one-year permit and the other is a 48-hour permit.

To obtain the one-year permit, a person must submit an application to the sheriff’s office in the county where they live. Upon approval of the application, the sheriff will issue the applicant a permit which will allow them to transport and sell non-ferrous metals to a recycler.

To obtain a 48-hour permit, a person must call the sheriff in the town where they live. The person making the phone call will then be given a permit number good for the transporting and sale of non-ferrous metals for 48 hours.

Non-residents of the state of South Carolina may obtain either permit from the Sheriff of the County where the scrap metal dealer is located.

Any person or business that intends to purchase copper or catalytic converters must obtain a “permit to purchase” from the sheriff’s office in the county where they do business. There is a $200 fee for the “permit to purchase” and must be renewed every two years.

The new law goes into effect August 17, 2011.


57 posted on 08/12/2011 4:13:21 PM PDT by ansel12 ( Bristol Palin's book "Not Afraid Of Life: My Journey So Far" became a New York Times, best seller.)
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To: ansel12
Back when it was legal to buy materials from them here, you could go to the scrap yards to buy perfect, used materials worth many times their scrap value, as a plumbing contractor I could recognize items of great value, it was pretty obvious that some stealing was taking place, and the yard employees would laughingly agree with you about it.

It is illegal to do so where you live?

P.S. I think the sheepdog essay is excellent as well. The percentage of sheepdogs on freerepublic is much higher than the national average.

58 posted on 08/12/2011 4:15:18 PM PDT by marktwain (In an age of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.)
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To: discostu

Around here the recycling centers require a drivers license for everything but beverage cans.


59 posted on 08/12/2011 4:16:42 PM PDT by FourPeas ("Maladjusted and wigging out is no way to go through life, son." -hg)
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To: Hot Tabasco

You don’t need to license scrap yards, you just need to periodically enforce the laws that are already on the book, throw a few of them in jail, and let the rest get their businesses in order.


60 posted on 08/12/2011 4:42:06 PM PDT by MrShoop
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