Sheriff's Office Hopes Marking Metal Will Deter Thieves
Citizens are asked to use stencils and paint, supplied by the Oconee County Sheriff's Office, to mark air conditioning units and other metals subject to theft.
In an effort to deter metal thieves, the Oconee County Sheriff's Office is asking members of the community to mark air conditioning units and other metals subject to theft in the county.
Stencils bearing the words "IF SOLD CALL OCONEE COUNTY 706-769-5665" and paint are available at the Sheriff's Office for citizens to borrow and use.
"It is our intent to help our citizens mark any air conditioning unit that is left unattended for any length of time in order to reduce it's usefulness to thieves, and aid in the recovery and recognition of stolen AC compressors," a news release via social media stated.
In September, Sheriff Scott Berry told the Georgia Farm Bureau Board of Directors there is a metal theft 'crisis." Tougher state legislation better regulating the sale and transport of nonferrous metals would help, he said. Chief Deputy Lee Weems also discussed metal theft in his monthly column.
In October, five outside air conditioning units, collectively valued at $35,000, were stolen from Bethabara Baptist Church, prompting the church to respond with a clever marquis. In another incident, deputies caught a would-be thief red-handed. Multiple thefts of metal were reported around other parts of county, too.
Last Saturday a copper walkway light --valued at $200-- was taken from outside a Northwoods Road residence. It is just one of many metal thefts that have been reported this month.
"We hope to have every church, business, rental property, foreclosed property marked in Oconee County as soon as possible," authorities wrote.
When it was pointed out by one Facebook user that thieves would still be able to remove the paint, the Sheriff's Office replied, "We know the paint can be removed, however, we feel that MOST thieves are too lazy to get what it takes to do it...also, from the time the metal is stolen until the time it is cleaned it is still marked while it is being transported or stored prior to sale.....It isn't a cure all, but until the laws change on metal theft, we have to be proactive and do what we can do to lessen the likelihood that the units will be attractive to thieves."
The Sheriff's Office estimates metal can be marked in around 20 minutes and almost anyone can do it. A slideshow with how-to instuctions has been uploaded to the Sheriff's Office Facebook page.
Call 706-769-3945 during business hours to arrange the use of the stencils.
Do you think marking metal will deter thieves?