Consortium of government and private leaders launch Copperstoppers to halt scrap metal thefts
MEMPHIS, TN — The local war on the theft of copper and other metals, and the damage caused by thieves who strip copper wires and pipes from homes, apartment buildings and churches has a new weapon.
Called Copperstoppers, the program will be operated by CrimeStoppers of Memphis and Shelby County in partnership with the Memphis Police Department’s Real Time Crime Center. At its core, Copperstoppers will provide enhanced awards of up to $1,000 for anonymous tips that lead to the arrest of thieves as well as those who knowingly trade in stolen metal.
Copperstoppers represents a new coordination of government and private sector interests who say copper theft is ruining homes, eroding the city’s tax base, and discouraging investment in the city.
“The Copperstoppers program is an important step to stop those who are stealing nothing less than our city’s future,” Mayor A C Wharton, Jr. said in comments today at a press conference in a Westwood neighborhood where more than 30 homes were damaged severely by copper thieves recently. Wharton came up with the name for the program.
“We have houses in some neighborhoods that have so much damage that repair isn’t possible or feasible. These structures turn into blight, are no longer on our tax rolls and drive investors from our city,” Wharton added.
E. Winslow (Buddy) Chapman, executive director of CrimeStoppers, said that extra awards of up to $1,000 — in additional to regular CrimeStoppers awards — will be given to those who call the organization’s tips line: 528-CASH (2274). “Our awards committee expects to provide up to the maximum awards when we get a tip of a theft in progress, or tips about those who are buying, selling or transporting out of town stolen scrap metal,” Chapman said.
Private donations and pledges have provided the funds that will be used to make the special awards.