Forklifts disrupt copper theft

News Story
- 9 Oct 2014 ( #688 ) - Houston, TX, United States
2 min read
Giovanni Gomez
Giovanni Gomez
In orchestrated moves, six Morrison Supply Co employees used Hyster forklifts to stop a vehicle from leaving a store without paying for a load of copper.

On 22 September, a suspect ordered copper worth about USD3,000. Morrison Supply's management was on alert and monitoring transactions in the wake of organised copper thefts in the market.

The suspect arrived in a truck to pick up the order on 23 September at the 10,000 sqft. (929 sqm) store near the William P Hobby Airport in south-east Houston.

Acting as if they were preparing to load the copper, the forklift operators positioned their propane-powered equipment to block the truck within the materials yard. Darrell Jarvis, assistant manager at Morrison Supply's branch 5 store, says they never intended to complete placing the load in the truck..

The forklifts effectively kept the truck idle. The suspect tried to extricate himself, but Houston police department patrol officers arrived, made an arrest and turned the case over to investigators for the department's metal theft unit.

The Harris County district attorney's office charged Giovanni Gomez, 20, with theft of metal materials and linked him to several outstanding criminal warrants within its jurisdiction. As of 7 October, Gomez was being held in the county jail and had not made the bond of USD5,000 necessary for his release.

Authorities believe Gomez was ordering materials from plumbing supply houses under the names of companies for which he no longer worked. Gomez had worked for Shepard Forest Plumbing Inc, in Houston, until 25 July.

Morrison Supply operates numerous branches in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Louisiana. Jarvis says the branch 5 store has 17 employees.

The Houston police department formed a metal theft unit in 2007, and the city updated its scrap yard regulations in 2008. The Harris County sheriff's burglary and theft division created a metal theft unit in mid-2011 and handled about 700 theft reports in the first six months.
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“I really enjoy your newsletter and share the articles with all my training team for industry currency. I also print and display specific articles on forklift safety and accidents on our notice board for all the learners who attend our training courses to read...”

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