Metal Theft | Prevention of Metal Theft

August 27, 2008 12:28:56 AM PDT
Merced County farmers have something more to talk about than crop prices and the weather. Thieves are stealing metal from farms and ranches throughout the county.Merced County Sheriff Mark Pazin says, "Anything that's not nailed down these crooks are grabbing it with their grubby little mitts, stealing it, and taking it off to the salvage company."

The latest target is brass irrigation valves. In one recent incident thieves hit several farms, taking metal valves off of plastic irrigation pipe ...

The fields of grower Louie Bandoni and his neighbors were hit this past weekend. He says irrigation lines in several fields were destroyed," Somebody was just going down the road with a sledgehammer breaking the PVC, and grabbing the brass valves."

The valves cost ten to fifteen dollars each and their salvage value is only about a dollar apiece. Bandoni says the damage to growers goes far beyond the cost of the valves.

"It's a large expense, it's a big inconvenience to get everything repaired, and sometimes you lose a lot of precious time, because when your crops need water they need it right now."

Farmers and ranchers are already dealing with equipment theft, and fuel theft. Sheriff Pazin is urging them to fight back, by reporting the thefts, something they don't always do.

Pazin says, "We need these folks to report it. They have been so de-sensitized to being ripped off on a daily, weekly, monthly basis, they are almost used to it and don't call their local authorities. Well, if we don't know about it, then we can't help.

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