The owner of a North Toledo scrap yard, his son, and two workers were arrested yesterday during the first of an expected series of sting operations by police, who hope to put a dent in the hot industry of stealing metal for scrap.
"People can't do this without impunity anymore," Toledo police Sgt. James Brown said.
Toledo police and CSX Transportation police conducted the sting at Lagrange Metals on Utica Street near Lagrange Street just after 10 a.m. An undercover officer offered to sell 600 pounds of copper wire stolen from the railroad and later recovered.
Waleed Kada, the scrap yard owner's son, bought the copper even after railroad police previously talked with the business, showed it a picture of the wire, told it not to buy the wire, and to call police if it was seen, Toledo police Sgt. Joe Heffernan said.
Authorities with both agencies then searched the business and found other stolen items, including manhole covers and dozens of shopping carts.
Keith Williams, manager of the Kroger on Manhattan Boulevard, came to the yard and retrieved several carts he believes were stolen from his store. He said more than 100 carts have been taken the last several years, and he has had to ask other stores for carts.
Scrap yard owner Khalid Kada, 48, of Waterford, Mich., was arrested for receiving stolen property a short time after he arrived at his business via a bus. He was charged with receiving stolen property in connection with the shopping carts, Sergeant Heffernan said.
His 22-year-old son was charged with the same offense after he bought the wire. The other two workers were arrested on unrelated felony warrants, for not paying child support and drug trafficking.
Randy Saint John, of CSX police, said theft of copper wire - which runs the signal system and power switches - has been a big problem for the railroad since the price of scrap metal went up. When the wire is stolen, he said, trains are delayed.
Nearly every day, police take a report of metal snatched from locations ranging from homes to Toledo Public School building construction sites.
On Monday, HPH Mechanical reported $1,800 worth of copper tubing taken from a school construction site on Nebraska Avenue.
The same day, Northwest Ohio Building Trades reported to police that 200 metal political signs worth $10,000 were taken from its Front Street site.
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