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Four charged in scrap thefts

September 13, 2010
CHARLTON — Scrap metal has been a magnet for thieves this month, as two pairs of people face criminal charges for stealing it in separate incidents so far.

But similar incidents abound nationwide and several others have occurred in this region this year.

Court records show the first alleged theft occurred Aug. 31 on Lelandville Road, where two town residents — Adam Jones, 20, of 138 Freeman Road, and Michael Madore, 26, of 317 Partridge Hill Road — were charged with larceny over $250 after a neighbor called police to report seeing "a green pickup with South Carolina plates" and two men "with a large piece of galvanized steel" coming out of the woods from a nearby junkyard. Police Officer Keith Cloutier wrote that he found the truck empty, but saw two such men carrying "a large metal cylindrical object" in the trees. They put it down, turned around, and returned shortly with a similar object, after which one of them came out alone with a fishing rod. Identified later as Jones, the man complied when asked to summon his partner, Cloutier wrote. Jones claimed to have seen the metal "when he was fishing" and thought he'd recycle it for cash, Cloutier added, but Madore said a "friend" told him "about some scrap metal in the woods, so they came to get it."

According to MetalPrices.com, the value of scrap varies greatly depending on what it is and in what condition, including 94 cents per pound for aluminum, $3.41 per pound for copper, and $10.24 per pound for nickel. It doesn't list steel, however.

That omission might be because there are so many varieties of steel, according to the appendix to a 2000 Rand Corp. study of disposal options for old naval vessels available online.

"The more than 100 classes of ferrous scrap depend on the size and thickness of the steel pieces in the lot and the source of the steel (e.g., automobiles, railroad equipment, steel cans)," Rand wrote. " No matter the grade of steel, the material must be free of dirt, nonferrous metals, foreign material of any kind, and excessive rust and corrosion."

See Tuesday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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