HAMILTON, OH (FOX19) - Law enforcement officials in Butler County say they've seen a recent spike in suspects selling stolen goods for scrap, with as many as eight reports taken in one day.
"I've talked to business people who have had their air conditioning stolen, renters that have had their air conditioning stolen," said Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones.
"When things are really tough people are looking for any way to make an extra buck, and it's not always in a legitimate way," said Neil Cohen, owner of the Hamilton Scrap Processors Facility.
The most recent theft took place at the Fitton Center for Creative Arts in Hamilton -- the non-profit was hit twice within the last two weeks.
"People that have never been victimized are finding themselves to be victims of crimes, and high dollar crimes, when copper is stolen, when air conditioning conditioners are stolen," said Hamilton Police Chief Neil Ferdelman.
Jones is now teaming up with local police chiefs in Hamilton and Middletown, as well as the owners of the Hamilton Scrap Processors Facility, to create a $100 reward system for information leading to the conviction of a copper thief.
"When you offer them rewards, they come forward, we're going to make it hard and we're going after the people who are stealing this," Jones said.
Deputies are also distributing flyers in the jails, offering inmates commissary credit, for information leading to a conviction.
"We're going to use technology, we're going to use any kind of investigative method that we can, to bring these type of activities to a close," Ferdelman.
Starting in September, Hamilton Scrap Processors Facility will also ban the use of stolen grocery carts as a means of transportation for metals.
The Sheriff's Department says they're offering a $500 reward for information regarding the copper theft at the Fitton Center For Creative Arts.
To report a suspect who you believe is selling stolen items for scrap you can call the new "Stolen for Scrap" Hotline : (513) 858-9252.