Stolen goods sold for scrapPublished 8:42pm Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Stolen items that turned up at a local recycling company led to the arrest of Austin Taylor, 22, of Emma Cannon Road, Chocowinity.
The theft was reported to the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office Aug. 15 — theft of a bush hog, aluminum pipe, a John Deere Gator and a John Deere hay baler from a farm on Wells Road in Chocowinity, said a press release from the sheriff’s office.
But over the course of Inv. Wesley Water’s investigation, the stolen items were found at OBI Sheer Steel, a recycling company in Chocowinity, according to Maj. Kenneth Watson, spokesman for the sheriff’s office.
“(Taylor) sold all of it for scrap,” Watson said, adding that the items were operational when sold and the scrap value was far less than the resale value.
Watson said, to a certain degree, purchasing stolen property is part of every recycling company’s business, though purchases of stolen items are sometimes made unknowingly. But that is why state law now allows law enforcement officials access to recycling businesses at any time during working business hours.
“They can’t prevent us from coming onto the property,” Watson said.
Watson explained that the sheriff’s office visits recycling businesses quite often, simply because investigations into many property thefts lead them there.
“Frequently (stolen) items are discovered when deputies or victims visit the locations and see the property at those locations,” Watson said.
Taylor was arrested Nov. 20 by the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office deputies, and was charged with three counts of felony larceny, one count of misdemeanor larceny, and four counts of obtaining property by false pretenses. He was held in the Pitt County Detention Center on a $5,000 secured bond set by a Pitt County Magistrate.