Scrap metal theft caught on camera - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Scrap metal theft caught on camera

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DETROIT (WJBK) - A business owner is says he's tired of being a victim and wants some payback after scrap metal thieves struck again at a popular Detroit shopping center.

"The laws that we have are not tough enough at all," says building owner Herb Strather.

The rules are not putting a dent in solving this problem in Detroit and they definitely are not a deterrent for scrappers to do what they do.

But this time, their every move was caught on camera on top of Tower Center at Grand River and Greenfield.

"They have to be a fool in full camera," says Strather.

"Destroying and dismantling, vandalizing, the units," says John Cromer.

The illegal scrapping business has been so big, bad and ugly that some businesses near this neighborhood have decided to bounce.

"The state of Michigan had 125 employees and they all moved out. They said they were not going to put up with it," says Strather. "A month later Kentucky Fried Chicken closed on the corner of Schoolcraft and Grand River and then in a matter of another month a White Castle closed.

And the Rainbow Kids clothing store said good riddance, too.

But this time around, yes, what happened was bitter though this part about it was sweet.

"We got it all on video and they did not know they were being taped, but we got them now!" says Strather.

"That 200 dollars that you're giving a scrapper for the part that they stole off of the roof is going to cost us at least $30,000 to get it started and we have four units. So multiple thirty thousand [dollars] times four, and that's where we're going to have to start. At least $120,000 to get air conditioning back into our building, But, we're going to do it," says Cromer.

"We as a community have got to get together. We cannot let the crooks run us," says Strather.

He owns plenty of properties in the city of Detroit. Cromer is his executive director. They take pride in every single place.

"We hope that the Detroiters will identify these people immediately and let's put them in jail in full public display, and let's tighten the rules down. We can put cameras on all of our roofs and we're going to capture these people. We have got to take use of technology right now. We have got to employ technology. The Detroit Police Department cannot do it all by themselves," says Strather.

These two sticky fingers found there way here two days after the equipment was replaced.
 
"I want you to be responsible and to and think about your community and not just about the 200 dollars you're going to get. Because those who took our air conditioner, I might be sweaty now, but you're going to be sweating later in jail," says Strather.

Strather and Cromer have come up with a way to solve the scrapping problem. You may think it's harsh but they don't.  

If you can't take the heat, they say, stay away from the roof.

"What we want is some tougher legislation. We want it to be decriminalized for us to electrocute them - not to kill them - but to electrocute them. I think this is fair and I think the public will go along with this that we will electrocute them because I plan to put wire up on my building. I want to make a public statement: If you come and touch this you're going to get zapped. That's it. I cannot take it anymore. It's impossible," says Strather.

"Stop stealing. and if you come back here to Tower Center you're going to be shot. You're going to get electrocuted if you touch our gates again. We are going to put over 240 volts of electricity in that gate and if you touch it it'll be the last thing you touch," says Cromer.

"Make it where they would never want to touch anything like this again in their life," says Strather.
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