The shadowy world of metal scrapping was the focus of a recent “MTSU On the Record” radio program.
Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Ben Stickle, an assistant professor in MTSU’s Department of Criminal Justice Administration, first aired March 26 on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 and online at www.wmot.org. You can listen to their conversation above.
For his doctoral dissertation, Stickle set out to gain credibility with people who collect stray sections of metals, both legally and illegally, to learn more about this economic sideline.
Stickle said copper is the most lucrative and sought-after metal. Both men and women steal scrap metals, and they tend to operate in pairs or groups.
“Most of the metal thieves I talked to, both men and women, tended to have … a high percentage of college experience, which I thought was very interesting, and a lot of them had some experience in metal,” Stickle said.
“They were former roofers or they helped do some plumbing or they worked in construction. So they knew from experience that metal had some value.”
Stickle said legitimate scrappers in rural areas ask farmers for parts of old trucks and tractors. He said rummaging through other people’s trash for metal is not necessarily illegal in many localities.
To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at www.mtsunews.com.
For more information about “MTSU On the Record,” contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.