Undercover officer says some scrapyards overlook ID verification

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Police are trying to identify three scrap metal thieves, seen loading their truck three times in broad daylight.

Police say the suspects crawled under the fence of a business near 60th and Florist, cut the lock and drove straight into the yard. They had noticed metal stacked outside, but apparently not the surveillance cameras.

An undercover officer who focuses on scrap thieves says it's not unusual to see the crime in the broad light of day.

"My shift changes. I can work from 7 in the morning or 8 in the morning, or sometimes midnight. Every time they change or the theft changes, I change my hours," the officer told FOX6 News.

Who the men are, and where the scrap ended up is something police hope to find out.

Wisconsin law requires scrappers to show a photo ID on their first visit and sign a statement for every sale.

"If the scrapyard is not paying attention to the ID -- most of them are pretty good. Some of them, if they have enough copper, they're gonna take the copper and overlook it," the officer said.

At Bandos Recycling in Milwaukee, Melanie Bandos says scrappers must show a photo ID on their first visit, and show a statement for every sale.

"That the item they are selling is lawfully theirs," Bandos said.

Customer information is then loaded into a police monitored database, while security cameras capture every transaction.

"There are some companies that may not be doing their due diligence, in ID-ing and in verifying that the items that people are selling them are truly theirs to sell," Bandos said.

Anyone with information on the suspects is asked to call Milwaukee police.

Related stories: