Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight today “recycled” a vehicle seized from a prolific offender who was arrested last year during the agency’s crackdown on metal thefts.
A purple Dodge Durango used to transport stolen goods was seized from Robert Cain, one of the worst offenders caught during the two Operation Meltdown efforts. The vehicle was crushed Friday at Glueck’s in Osprey, and proceeds from the scrapped SUV are being given to The Salvation Army for the Addiction Recovery Program it runs in the Sarasota County Jail.
Since August 2011, the Sheriff’s Office has employed a variety of tactics to protect the community from motivated metal thieves who have stolen everything from air conditioners to catalytic converters and even soccer goal posts. The metals are then scrapped for quick cash that often funds a prescription pill habit.
Thanks to the help of Sarasota County commissioners and strong new ordinances that make it harder for thieves to sell recyclable metals, the assistance of local contractors and metal-related businesses, as well as area law enforcement agencies, the community is seeing an impact.
In the first quarter of 2012, the value of metal theft overall was down 59 percent and copper theft specifically was down 87 percent compared to the same period last year. Citizens can continue to help reduce metal thefts by reporting suspicious activity around empty homes and businesses after-hours.