Sting operations recommended to combat metal theft - Tucson News Now

Sting operations recommended to combat metal theft

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

When the new state legislature convenes in January, one of the proposals on the table may be more money for sting operations to combat metal thefts.

That will be one of 10 recommendations made by the "metal theft ad hoc study committee" at the state legislature.

The committee held its final hearing before issuing a report on its finding by the end of the year.

It's chaired by Rep. Tom Forese, a Gilbert Republican.

Forese unveiled a 10-point plan he will submit to lawmakers in hopes of drafting legislation, adding to the two bills passed last year.

Kim MacEachern, from the prosecuting attorney's advisory council added some general numbers to the mix.

While not definitive numbers she said there are about 2,300 reported cases of metal theft in Maricopa County but they were only able to "make" about 24 cases to prosecute.

"So many times we don't end up with the evidence to be able to connect a particular defendant with the particular material to a particular property and or victim," she says.

She says part of the problem is we don't "have the eyes and ears of the public."

One of the 10 points Forese will present will ask for more money for an education program to get the public involved.

He also wants to "create stricter penalties for those who put the public at risk."

Testimony argued that punishment should be based on the damage done and not just on the value of the metals.

A thief may get $200 dollars for the metal he stole but he may have done thousands of dollars in damage. 

Forese would also like to create a database with all the scrap metal dealers in Arizona to better keep track of all transactions.

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