More cars being stolen for scrap metal in East Tenn.

More cars being stolen for scrap metal in East Tennessee

Posted:
Tennessee Highway Patrol has seen a real hike in vehicles being stolen for scrap metal in our area. Tennessee Highway Patrol has seen a real hike in vehicles being stolen for scrap metal in our area.
"I came back on Monday to get it back with a tow truck, and it was gone," Herrington said. "I came back on Monday to get it back with a tow truck, and it was gone," Herrington said.

By MONA NAIR
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Law enforcement agencies in the region are asking people to watch out for their cars being stolen.

Since mid-December, Tennessee Highway Patrol has seen a real hike in vehicles being stolen for scrap metal in our area.

James Herrington says his truck broke down on Interstate 40 in Knox County, so he parked it off the side of the highway.

"I came back on Monday to get it back with a tow truck, and it was gone," Herrington said.

The truck is an older one, but it's his main ride,  getting him to and from work every day.

"I reported it stolen and the officer with the sheriff's office told me it was an epidemic. He said it was probably in a scrap yard already crushed," Herrington explained.

THP says Herrington is not the only victim. They've seen several cases in Knox and surrounding counties.

Herrington is one of the lucky ones though. He managed to find his truck at DUSA Metal Recycling. The owner returned it to him after discovering it was stolen. The business owner says he's as much of a victim as Herrington.

"Every time a situation like this happens, we lose anywhere from $500-$700, depending on what we paid for the car. So actually we are the victims. Because we give the car back to the rightful owner, and we're out the money we paid to whoever stole the car," explained owner Spencer Lim.

Tennessee law has scrap metal businesses checking for ID and taking the fingerprints of every person they purchase from. They are also required to hold a vehicle for three days before crushing it, which is how Herrington saved his truck. Despite the regulations, it's a crime that could happen to anyone.

Herrington says he's never leaving his truck unattended again.

"Won't leave it. I guess I need to get AAA or something, you know. Won't leave it," he said.

DUSA Metal Recycling did take the ID and fingerprints of the person who brought in the stolen truck, so investigators do have a suspect.

The business owner says most of the time the criminals in these cases are convicted. However, the victims don't usually get their money back.

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