Thieves Disguised As Construction Workers Steal Scrap Metal In Cascade Neighborhood

A group of thieves disguised as construction workers have stripped tens of thousands of dollars worth of metal from a building in the Cascade neighborhood and caused problems for several nearby businesses in recent months.

According to Seattle Police Department West Precinct Burglary Detective Lora Alcantara—who’s investigating the case—since January, thieves have stripped $40,000 worth of copper pipes and aluminum from the old building on Fairview Avenue N. and Thomas St

On several occasions, the thieves have shut down power to the building, as well as several other business on the block, in order to steal valuable fuses and wiring. Det. Alcantara says the thieves are most likely reselling the stolen metal at scrapyards around the city.

While scrapyards don’t typically buy more than $100 of scrap metal at a time from one person, Det. Alcantara says, some clever thieves have obtained business licenses—using fake personal information—and are then able to sell larger quantities of valuable metal to scrappers.

In order to combat scrap metal theft and reduce property crime in Seattle, Mayor Mike McGinn and the Seattle Police Department are working to tighten regulations on businesses that buy and sell used goods, like metal.

Scrap metal recyclers are not currently required to report purchases to police, making it difficult for SPD to combat scrap metal theft. Mayor McGinn’s legislation would require businesses to photograph all purchased items, and comply with the police department’s No Buy List, which includes the names of over 1900 criminals previously convicted of property crimes, who are prohibited from selling items to metal recyclers or other used goods dealers.

“It’s definitely needed,” Det. Alcantara says.