Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Not worth their brain cells

I heard about this theft the other day on the news and felt incredibly frustrated at the selfish and stupid people out there who are going to bring this world down. Where does someone get the idiotic idea to steal valves off of tanks filled with hazardous chemicals?

Okay, sure I probably can't understand their desparate situation be it poverty or drug-dependency. Still, why not steal something a little more obvious and not risk exposing yourself to chemicals that could make your sick or worse.

I can't help wonder if this is a worldwide problem or an issue for certain types of countries. The problem here is that there's no good way to enforce the scrap yards to not accept random piles of metal. You'd think it be obviously suspicious if a guy came in with a truckload of bronze statues and plaques that look like they came from a cemetary. How about asking for some paperwork? Clearly, the scrap yards don't care either because they're going to make money. What incentive do they have to keeping people honest? So long as crooks can get paid, the crime is going to continue. There's fault to be found all along the system.

It just breaks my heart that people have no respect for public safety and for personal property. I'm sure there are countless historical examples of how selfish acts have resulted in tragic consequences for innocent people and wildlife. I just hate to think of how big a disaster could occur with all the chemicals and technology we rely on today. So many things would be better if people had some sense of the chain reaction their actions create.

$10 theft cost a $250,000 spill cleanup
Phillip Matier,Andrew Ross

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The 3,500-gallon spill of a toxic chemical into San Pablo Bay over the weekend cost an estimated $250,000 to clean up - and it was all for a lousy $10 worth of brass.

The thieves who caused the spill of the chemical toluene at Reaction Products in Richmond were after the valves on holding tanks - the latest example of a crime wave involving barely precious metals that yield a few dollars at the recycling yard but can cost taxpayers big bucks.

In the past year, thieves have stolen everything from copper wiring along the Richmond Parkway to the little aluminum shades that go over the city's red, green and yellow street signals.

"You won't believe the lengths that thieves will go to these days for a couple of bucks worth of metal," said Richmond police Lt. Mark Gagan.

It's happening in San Francisco as well, where someone stole two nearly century-old bronze plaques from the Shakespeare Garden in Golden Gate Park a couple of weeks back.

"And that was just a week after the cops busted a dude who was dragging a 300-pound bronze tablet from Dolores Park," said Recreation and Park Department spokeswoman Rose Dennis.

The damage can run into the thousands - as evidenced by metal bandits in Richmond who pulled an air conditioning unit out of the Nevin Community Center, and in the process ruptured a water pipe.

The building flooded, causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage. "All for a few feet of copper wire and plumbing worth about $2.50," Gagan said.

Replacing the stripped wiring on the Richmond Parkway cost an estimated $250,000 and prompted the city to install wire alarms.

And its not just public property that's getting hit.

Some homeowners have come back from extended absences to find that metal thieves have torn out their interior walls and carted off wiring and piping.

Even the dead are targets.

Last year, Gagan said, metal thieves made off with more than 200 little graveside bronze flower vases from Rolling Hills Memorial Park cemetery in Richmond.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

to answer your question - yes, it is a worldwide problem. I live in Poland and watching the news on TV I quite often hear of villages left with no power supply just because some 'unknown thieves' stole the wire. You ask why - there's a graffiti next to my house and it tells you the whole truth: 'poor people steal.' Sometimes they do it for food, sometimes for alcohol, etc. Poverty is a serious social problem and the state should handle that, at least in my opinion.

Good luck with your wedding preparations :)

samsara from Poland