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So Three Guys Walk Into a Scrapyard and Try to Steal a 500-Pound Piece of Metal…

…And they might’ve gotten away with it if not for a group of metaling meddling officers.

Last month, scrap metal businesses in SoDo and Georgetown were targeted in a flurry of break-ins. “We’ve had a lot of places continually get hit,” says South Precinct Burglary Detective Danial Conine. “It’s a big problem for the businesses down there.”

Following one of the break-ins, a railroad employee who works in the area reported seeing a group of men dragging large scraps of metal across train tracks which run through a scrap yard’s lot, near S. 45th Street and Colorado Avenue S.

It turns out that dragging huge chunks of metal across train tracks is a bad thing, and can actually damage a railroad and cause derailments. So, in order to prevent future potential train crashes, detectives and members of the South Precinct Anti-Crime Team (ACT) began staking out the scrap yard to catch the crew of metal bandits.

The suspect’s bike sling.

Around 1 am on August 12th, ACT officers saw a man on a bike ride up to the scrapyard, followed closely by two other men in a pickup truck loaded up with scrap metal.

“The officers see a group of guys in a truck circling around the business,” Det. Conine says, “and watched them for over an hour.”

During the wait, officers called in a K9 unit for backup, and watched the men as they crept into the scrap yard and hooked a 500 pound piece of metal—worth about $200—up to a sling system, connected to one suspect’s bicycle.

When officers confronted the men, they took off running. A police dog caught up with one of the men, and officers chased down the other two suspects.

Officers discovered one suspect was wearing a necklace with a magnet around his neck, typically worn by scrap metal thieves to easily check the potential value of a piece of metal.

Officers then booked the men into the King County Jail.