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Bogus Contractors Steal Copper from Constellium Plant

By: The Associated Press Email
By: The Associated Press Email

UPDATE 12/5/12 @ 6 p.m.
RAVENSWOOD, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- It's a heist like you'd see in the movies -- right at the Constellium plant in Ravenswood.

“They were able to bluff their way past the guards,” West Virginia State Police Sgt. J.P. Murphy said. “They knew the procedure that the guards at the plants used obviously to do it. They knew where the copper was in the plant. They had to have some kind of inside knowledge.”

Last Friday, two men drove into the plant in a white pickup truck, made it past security and managed to get plant workers to help them load up two tons of scrap copper. It was two hours before anyone at the plant realized what had happened.

“Says to me they've probably done this before,” Murphy said. “And this is probably their career. Being a thief.”

Frank Baird owns West Virginia Cash In Recyclables in Nitro. He sees things like this all the time and says some folks do make ripping off others their job.

“If somebody's stealing ten or fifteen dollars, they need something,” Baird said. “If you're stealing three or four or five thousand dollars, you're in business. It's a business.”

Baird’s company is always on guard for anyone who shows up with materials they shouldn't have. He says they have plenty of safeguards in place.

“We have these same type of people come and try to get into our yards,” Baird said. “We won't buy from them. We won't sell to them.”

State troopers say they wouldn't call this an inside job but do think the thieves have probably been around before.

“I'd say it's probably someone whose been on the plant property, maybe for a legitimate purpose before, and knew how the plant operated,” Murphy said.

Troopers are looking at security video to get a clearer picture of the thieves. They suspect they are from out of state and will likely sell the metal out of state, as well.



ORIGINAL STORY 12/5/12 @ 9 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- West Virginia State Police are warning manufacturers to review security procedures after two men posing as contractors drove out of a plant with two tons of stolen copper.

Trooper C.A. May says workers at the Constellium Rolled Products Plant in Ravenswood didn't suspect the men were thieves. They even loaded the scrap copper onto the men's pickup truck.

May tells the Associated Press that Constellium sells scrap copper known as copper chops regularly. One of the men told the security guard at the gate that he was supposed to pick up an order. He used a fake license and identification to obtain a pass into the plant.

A Constellium spokeswoman declined to comment on the theft.

The theft occurred last Friday. No arrests have been made.


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