LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – Copper thieves continue to target a Polk County oil field. This makes four thefts in four days. Deputies have stepped-up patrol in the area. Now, they're asking recycle shops to pay close attention to people selling scrap metal. A recycle shop owner says he's on the lookout.
"All of our high dollar stuff is kept up here under our higher security: laser beams and camera alarms," said Dennis Alverson, owner of Alverson's Recycling in Livingston.
At $3 a pound, selling copper wire is a honest living for some. But it's also a hot commodity for thieves, even after tougher copper-theft laws were recently passed. Recycle shops say they have to keep their guard up.
"It's starting to grow again," said Alverson.
Alverson says anyone selling scraps must have a valid driver's license to do business. Alverson takes down the person's license plate number and vehicle description. But sometimes it's not enough.
"Well anybody can slip through the cracks," he said. "Now if law enforcement is on top of it and they come out here and ask me about it, my cameras back up 8 weeks. I got the person on-camera, they're caught."
Every sale is recorded electronically. Alverson says his cameras have helped solve stolen scrap metal cases.
"They've been arrested. This is not my first rodeo," said Alverson.
What an armed Alverson and his partner, Chelsea the watch dog don't see, 16 security cameras do.
"It's not overboard. There's not enough security," he said.
Alverson has invested $60,000 to protect his scrap metal haven against thieves looking to pass off stolen scraps.
"It's enough to have an armed guard out here," said Alverson.
Alverson says he thinks more security will help his business. He says every recycle shop should have some kind of security.