Theft ring allegedly stole close to $2 million over a two-year period.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol Criminal Investigations Division (THP-CID), along with the Marion County (Tennessee) Sheriff’s Department, has charged six individuals for allegedly stealing tractor trailer loads of scrap metal cargo worth $1.8 million. The theft ring continued for more than two years.
According to the THP-CID, Jay Sanders and Gary Alto, who were employed by SCS Trucking, were responsible for hauling loads of scrap metal from a company in Ashland City, Tenn., to South Pittsburg, Tenn. The two allegedly devised a scheme in which they would pay off security guards at one plant and workers at another, while diverting the shipments to Dodson Scrap Metal Yard, located in Whitwell, Tenn.
The owners of Dodson Scrap Metal Yard, Randall and Melissa Brown, allegedly would not document receiving the metal and would haul it on their own tractor trailer to an Alabama scrap metal dealer. The scheme had allegedly been ongoing since at least 2010.
Those charged include Jay Sanders, Gary Alto, Randall Brown, Melissa Brown, James King and Craig Meeks, each with theft of property of more than $250,000. Theft of more than $250,000 is a class A felony in Tennessee, which carries a standard sentence of 15 to 25 years in prison.
“Cargo theft is a nationwide issue with a significant impact on the United States economy,” says Sergeant Matthew Minter with the THP-CID. “It is estimated that cargo crime accounts for a direct merchandise loss of $15 to $30 billion per year. Virtually all goods manufactured domestically and internationally are transported by truck and train within the continental U.S. Studies indicate that 80 percent of all cargo thefts are ‘inside jobs,’” adds Minter.