Company uses GPS to track copper thieves

(WMC-TV) - One company is using GPS to track scrap metal thefts in the Mid-South.

"We manage over 800 properties in Memphis," said Hulet Gregory with Marathon Management.

With copper prices and copper theft up, Marathon Management is battling the same frustrating problem as many other similar businesses nationwide.

"We'll probably experience $300,000 in losses from copper theft instances," said Gregory.

At a house managed by Marathon Management, assorted mangled parts are scattered across the backyard.

"This has been a part of our world from the get go," said Gregory.  "I think it will always be a challenge.  We've had properties where we're on our third, fourth condenser in the last four, five years."

To combat the issue, Marathon Management is installing GPS devices on their copper condensers and placing warning stickers on them.

"We're taking very proactive measures to try to curtail this," said Gregory.

Gregory said scrap metal laws in Tennessee and Mississippi have stiffened recently, but the industry needs to deter copper thieves.

"Eventually you want to make it to where it's just not worth it to them," said Gregory.  "They're going to have to find something else to do."

Gregory said the company installed metal cages, but they were being ripped from the base.  He said he has met with a task force in the Sheriff's Department in hopes of making a difference.

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