The investigation culminated the evening of Feb. 12 when police arrested three suspects, two men and a women, caught with a pickup full of scrap metal allegedly taken from Extreme Options Fabrication on Garrett Street.
One of the males and the female were in their late 20s and the other male was in his late 30s.
According to Detective Sgt. Mark Leitl of the Enumclaw Police Department, the break in the case began with a “social contact” by officers at the business, checking to see if there were problems or concerns. The owner of Extreme Options, Anthony Diss, told the officers someone had been cleaning out the scrap metal bin outside his business.
Diss said by phone Friday, “This (the theft) had been going for a long time.” He estimated losses reached $10,000 during the past six months, which included scrap metal and someone breaking into vehicles. Diss said many of the thefts focused on aluminum, stainless steel and copper.
The arrests occurred after the detectives set up a surveillance operation.
Leitl said police had been working the case since summer.
Leitl said scrap metal theft has been a problem for businesses and residents for more than a year and have been also occurring in Bonney Lake and Auburn.
According to the detective, there have been instances of someone cutting fences to get into a truck company and King County Sheriff’s deputies reported thefts of metal at the White River Amphitheatre.
Leitl said he did not know if this group of suspects is responsible for all the thefts.
The scrap metal was being recycled in Bonney Lake and Fife, according to the officers who have been working the case. Many of the thefts occurred late at night and during early-morning hours. The suspects were thought to be cruising alleys searching for metal at homes and businesses.