Stealing copper and other metals is a quick-cash industry for organized criminals and the perennially unemployed denizens of the outdoors.
Thieves steal copper from schools, which creates huge repair bills and can lead to temporary closures. They steal copper from air conditioners at old people’s houses and leave them sweating and vulnerable. They steal copper from nonprofits that feed the poor. They steal copper from street lights and cause hundreds of thousands of dollars of repairs, and taxpayers foot the bill.
In other words, thieves suck.
Also sucking are the scrap metal recyclers who perpetuate all of this by buying scrap metal even when they figure it’s stolen.
Of course, not all scrappers are complicit.
Some, such as Fort Worth’s Arnold Gachman, are industry leaders in trying to connect scrappers with their communities, law enforcement, and legislators to stop the thefts.
The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries presented Gachman with a lifetime achievement award during the national organization’s recent convention in Orlando, Fla.
“Throughout his career, Arnold Gachman has proven to not only be a wonderful leader for the scrap reculcing industry, but his generosity, ability to teach others, and willingnesss to learn have helped set our industry’s course for decades to come,” Institute president Robin Wiener said.
Gachman has been president of Fort Worth-based Gamtex Industries for nearly 40 years.
He and similar-minded scrappers on the Recycling Council of Texas are trying to rid the industry of rogue scrapyards that buy stolen metal. The group helped to create a law in 2011 that requires scrapyards to register with the Department of Public Safety and to request identification from sellers.