Fresno forum helps recyclers stay ahead of thieves

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The Fresno County Ag Task Force brought together local recyclers on Thursday to update them on the latest rules and regulations. (KFSN)

The Fresno County Ag Task Force brought together local recyclers on Thursday to update them on the latest rules and regulations. Copper wire theft has been a very expensive problem for Valley farms and businesses, but thieves try to cash in every item imaginable.

Over half of Fresno County's 89 recyclers gathered for an open forum to learn the latest rules and trends. Recyclers like Louis Lopez of Kerman were told they need to be on the lookout for not just stolen metal, but items containing hazardous materials. He said, "Refrigerators with the Freon in it. E-waste is getting to be a pain because everything's got something in it."

Sgt. Ryan Hushaw heads the Fresno County Sheriff's Department Ag Task Force. He says some items should be automatically rejected. "There are prohibited items that you cannot accept from the metal recycling industry, for example, a beer keg, or railroad spikes or material, telecommunications wire and things of that nature," said Hushaw.

Shopping carts can't be turned into recycling centers either. Hushaw and his seven investigators have recovered everything from ladders to storm drain covers. "We have seen the actual metal urns from cemeteries that have been stolen. We have seen plaques that have been stolen -- the brass and metal plaques," said Hushaw.

Lopez says it's easier for him in a smaller town like Kerman. He said, "People I deal with regular I have no problem with; it's the strangers that come in with big bunch of stuff that you worry about."

Authorities displayed examples to help recyclers identify different types of wiring.
Related Topics:
crimetrackercopper wire thefttheftrecyclingfresnoFresno - Southeast
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