Copper is a popular item for thieves these days.
Police say they swipe the metal and try to sell it off at scrap yards.
But now the owners of some of those scrap yards are taking a more active role in tracking down these criminals and in some cases they're even setting up their own sting operations.
“We don't knowingly purchase anything that's stolen, if a person coming in here and we know that it was stolen, we will not buy it and we will call the police,” says John E. Schneider, President of E. Schneider & Sons Inc. in Allentown.
But even with more than 40 years in the business Schneider says it's still close to impossible to know where the scrap metal comes from
“If we got a call that copper was stolen from a house from Washington Street, we can't tell the difference between that particular copper and copper coming in from a legitimate plumber,” he said.
In order to protect his business, Schneider has every customer sign a ticket certifying that the transaction is legitimate.
“We also video tape all our transactions, there's video cameras throughout and we also require a drivers license and we scan drivers licenses so we have a positive identification of the customer we're doing business with,” Schneider said.
Schneider also says that he's been a victim of burglary himself.
People have broken into and stolen metal only to return to sell it back to Schneider.
“It was our scrap, we know where they took it from and they had borrowed a truck and they were bringing it in here attempting to cash it in,” he said.
That thief was arrested but Schneider says there will be more and he only has one thing to say to them, “ You're gonna get caught, you're gonna get caught and our hope is that we can get to a point where it's not worth the risk anymore.”