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Police track ‘perfect storm’ of scrap metal losses

By JOHN WHARTON

Staff writer

A Calvert County man has been charged through a summons with a theft offense in court papers alleging he stole materials valued at $45,000 last month from a St. Mary’s excavation business where he once worked.

Timothy Brian Conner, 49, was employed about two years ago at A.C. Mattingly Mechanical Services and Dirt Works Excavation in Leonardtown, where property reported missing in December included more than five tons of metal, including steel sheeting, loader arms, a crane’s spreader bar, an air compressor and a generator, according to charging papers from the investigation.

Conner sold the items Dec. 19 to Super Salvage, a local scrap metal yard, and received $674 after he provided his driver’s license, as required by law, St. Mary’s sheriff’s deputy Melissa Green wrote in a charges application.

Sheriff’s Capt. Steven Hall said last week that the thefts of property later sold as scrap metal have escalated into a “perfect storm” as the price of the metals increases amid a downturn in the economy, and that salvage yards generally have been helpful in tracking illegal activity.

“The only thing they’re required to do is inventory what they receive and from whom,” Hall said, adding that the salvage businesses have a good reason to try to avoid paying for stolen property, as the police can and will return it to its rightful owner.

“They’re making an attempt,” the captain said. “There’s always room for improvement.”

jwharton@somdnews.com