Hot Wired, Union, Morehouse, Sheriff, Copper, Thefts - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

"Hot Wired:" Part 2

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MOREHOUSE PARISH, La. (KNOE 8 News) - In the conclusion of our investigative report, "Hot Wired" we ride along with the Morehouse Parish Sheriff's Office for an undercover investigation.

Would the yards follow new state law, asking for an ID, and telling us we'd get a check in the mail for the goods?

Morehosue Parish Sheriff, Mike Tubbs, says "often times we find again there is those who are operating without a license or operating out of there back yards. They may be hauling these metals to other parts of the United States. Those are certainly a challenge for us we won't receive any records of those."

For the investigation, it started with getting a box of burnt copper, and an undercover deputy. Then on to our first stop. Our cameras were not allowed inside the business. We were able to hear full audio of what was taking place, as the undercover deputy tried to sell the copper.

The buyer did ask the deputy for an ID and to fill out paperwork, but the deputy was given cash on the spot. Which is against the law. Sheriff Tubbs says, "the law requires the dealer pay by check to the address on the drivers license. There is a 5 day period, where the dealer has to get the check mailed out."

Police then left the business with the receipt and cash, only to return a few moments later with a ticket for giving cash on the spot. Sheriff Tubbs says, "they will be charged under a state statue. It requires them to follow a procedure when copper is sold at a second hand dealer."

Our second stop was a recycle yard run out of a home. The owner was not there, so deputies couldn't try to sell the copper. Then, our last stop for the day. Would they give cash on the spot or require identification?

The recycle yard did not require any ID, didn't fill out any paperwork, and gave cash on the spot. Sheriff Tubbs says, "another one didn't require any information. There would have been no record of a sale to one of those yards. That information would never get to law enforcement."

This business was also issued a ticket for not complying with state laws. Now the decision on the fines is left up to the courts. Sheriff Tubbs says, "the citations were issued. The case will be prepared once the reports are done. They will be forwarded to the district attorney, and we've been in contact. He will look at the case, we should be able to provide him video. There may be additional charges filed from today's operation."

In Union Parish, we rode along with deputies as they picked up receipts from the only recycle yard in the parish. Union Parish Sheriff, Bob Buckley, says"we've had fairly good cooperation with the operator we have operating now."

Buckley says they have also conducted undercover operations. He says, "we've had some people who have wanted to skirt the law. We've done undercover operations there, and sited them for it."

Tubbs and Buckley say they have warned the recycle yards about following the new laws.

Buckley says, "every operator that we know of we have given ample warning, as to what the laws are. We asked for their cooperation."

The sheriff's say the new laws make stolen copper easier to trace, though they are seeing no decrease in thefts in their parishes or across the state. The scrap yards we visited in this investigation were chosen by the sheriff's offices.

KNOE was invited to go along on their undercover investigation as part of our special reports.

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