Scrap yard helps lead police to $15 thieves - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Scrap yard helps lead police to $15 thieves

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ATHENS, TN (WRCB) - People who steal scrap metal can create a big -- and sometimes expensive -- inconvenience for many. This time thieves are targeting dozens of window screens.

Police say Cory Marshall, 26, and Kaycee Bright, 20, stole metal from the Homestead Inn on Holiday Dr. in Athens. The suspects pocketed just a few dollars in aluminum. But many scrap yards have systems in place to help catch future crooks.

Decatur Metals, for example, sees a lot of odd stuff.

"Anywhere from stoves, water heaters, refrigerators," said employee, Ben Lynn. From scaffolding to soda cans -- "If it's metal, we'll take it," he said.

That's why a few dozen window screens didn't raise red flags at the scrap yard last week. Two metal thieves dropped them off after stealing them from outside Athens' Homestead Inn. The hotel manager told police he saw a suspicious vehicle in the parking lot.

"Shortly after he went in the office and observed a black Jeep Cherokee load up the screens," said Athens Police Det. Josh Rhodes.

APD put out an alert for the vehicle, and Meigs County deputies soon found it abandoned. They checked the nearby scrap yard, Decatur Metals, where the screens were found. They had been sold for just $15.

"They were able to provide us with the information of who brought them, their ID and all that," Rhodes said.

Tennessee law requires anyone selling scrap metal to show a valid photo ID, and give a fingerprint as well as their vehicle tag, make and model. Scrap yards must keep this information on record.

Bright's information was on file at Decatur Metals, and employees identified Marshall in a photo lineup as the man she was with while selling the window screens.

"We don't want to buy stolen stuff, we want to buy stuff the right way," Lynn said. "We don't want to buy something somebody stole from somebody else."

"People get out and work for the stuff they have," he said. "And for somebody to steal it, it's not right."

Marshall was arrested in N. Carolina Tuesday on unrelated charges. He's awaiting extradition to McMinn County. Police are still trying to track down Bright. Anyone with information on her whereabouts should call Athens Police.
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