Three Baltimore scrap metal companies have pleaded guilty to improperly buying metal, after a city crackdown on thieves who strip metal from vacant houses to sell.
Each of the companies did not keep accurate records of their transactions and did not submit transaction sheets to police officials, as required by law. Police detectives depend on dealers to record who brought in the metal, in case the materials were stolen.
Industrial Metals-Early Corp. of the 1500 block of N. Warwick Ave. was fined $800, Franklintown Metals & Cores of the 100 block of McPhail St. was fined $450 and Baltimore Scrap Corp. of the 1600 block of Carbon Ave. was fined $250, court records show.
"Many of Baltimore's vacant houses have suffered devastating effects of thieves illegally entering them and completely stripping them," said city Housing Commissioner Daniel P. Henson III.
In April, Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke became so angry about the thefts that he ordered a police crackdown and sent a strongly worded letter to 13 dealers across the city, saying the thefts were affecting the city's housing stock. In some cases, entire furnaces were taken from houses, he said.