A 52 year old Columbia, Missouri man found a rude surprise one morning when he visited a property he was planning on buying — thieves had made off with his roof.
Dan Bethnall had had scrap metal stolen from his property before, but the sheer magnitude of this theft shocked him. All of the old building’s walls and roof had been stripped.
“You cannot believe someone would strip a whole building in the middle of the night and no one sees anything,” he said. “It had to be a noisy process.”
Luckily, Bethnall had been planning to demolish the building so that he could construct a new office building on the property, so the theft didn’t cost him too much. He reported the incident to police only to let them know that he hadn’t taken the roof off prior to demolition.
“I’ve been to court eight times over three years,” said Benthall. “It’s become more of a legal hassle to prosecute somebody than to just let them have it.”
Last year, the National Insurance Crime Bureau released a list of the top states for metal theft claims, and found Missouri to be in the top 10. According to the study, aluminum was the second most pilfered metal.
“This isn’t something that you usually run across and most people don’t need to protect against it. It is a fairly rare and special incident that happened here and it was only because the building had sheet metal siding and roofing that it was targeted. Most people’s roofing and siding isn’t worth the trouble of stealing it” said Dymitri Orzlov, of DVR Roofing.
Although most thieves target abandoned properties, the possibility still remains, as Bethnall’s case indicates, that thieves can easily get away with massive amounts of scrap metal, so it’s always best to remain vigilant.