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Scrap metal theft spotlights growing problem recently in Mount Washington

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By Alex Wimsatt

    MOUNT WASHINGTON - Scrap metal thefts have become all too common in Mount Washington. In the past three months there have been five occasions when scrap metal was reported stolen.

    The Mount Washington Police Department added one more to the list this week.

    On Wednesday morning roughly $500 worth of scrap aluminum was stolen from a Stout Lane resident, off Highway 31E.

     As the resident was driving along his street shortly after 10:00 a.m. he saw a man driving a black full-size pickup truck. The resident was suspicious, so he turned around to block passage to the street.

     The suspect saw the resident and got into his truck to flee the scene. He then rammed the resident’s vehicle three times, drove around the resident’s vehicle through the side yard of a nearby residence and fled the scene via 31E southbound toward Nelson County, according to MWPD officer S. Hill.

     Hill responded to the scene of the incident while Det. Buddy Stump pursued the vehicle. Stump was unable to catch up with the suspect; However, a witness driving along 31E followed the suspect until he reached Highway 48 (Highgrove Road) in Nelson County. Hill said at that point the witness lost sight of the suspect, but managed to retrieve license plate information.

     Nelson County police were notified that the suspect was in the area.

     Stump has been notifying nearby scrap yards of the theft, asking them to contact police if they saw the suspect’s vehicle or noticed anything suspicious.

     Hill said the suspect was a white male in his mid to late 30s with dark hair. Hill also said MWPD would take out a warrant for his arrest. The suspect would be charged with robbery, a class C felony.

     Det. Stump is currently investigating the incident.

     Hill said scrap metal theft was fairly common because it was harder to trace than other materials. It could be sold on the spot at scrap yards for cash.

     “With wiring and aluminum there’s not going to be any type of identification. It’s easy to unload because there’s not going to be any questions as far as where it came from,” Hill said. “From what I understand the market price for copper and aluminum is pretty high.”

     No one was injured during the incident, according to Hill.