Police: Routine patrol catches drunken scrapper
August 10, 2011 - A routine building check in the Glaspie Industrial District Aug. 6 paid off big time for Oxford Village Police Sgt. Mike Solwold as he arrested a 50-year-old Corunna man for drunken driving and stealing scrap metal from a local manufacturer.
It was around 12:15 a.m. when Solwold rolled through the quiet parking lot of Acorn Stamping (600 S. Glaspie St.) to check on the property.
Behind the industrial facility, he spotted a suspicious red pickup truck backed up to a recycling dumpster.
Solwold returned to the front of the building to obtain the address and radio dispatch.
Moments later, he spotted this same truck slowly attempting to drive away with its headlights off. "He must have been hiding on me when I came around the corner the first time," Solwold said.
When the sergeant pulled the vehicle over to investigate, "the whole back of his pickup truck was just filled with scrap metal."
"The guy's just sweating – dripping wet like he just jumped into the pool. You could tell he'd been working," Solwold noted.
Solwold said the man smelled of intoxicants. A preliminary breath test (PBT) was administered, which indicated his blood alcohol content was .15 percent – nearly double the state's legal limit of .08 percent.
The man allegedly had an open bottle of vodka in his truck. "It was about three-quarters gone," Solwold said.
Back at the village police station, the sergeant administered two more PBTs, both of which were .17 percent.
Multiple criminal charges are pending against the Corunna man including larceny, operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (third offense), trespassing and having an open container of alcohol in the vehicle.
A check of his driving record revealed the Corunna man had three prior convictions for drunken driving and had a restricted license, which only allowed him to drive to certain places for specific reasons.
"Obviously, it's not to go to Acorn Stamping at midnight and take (scrap) metal," Solwold noted. Acorn Stamping indicated the estimated value of the metal allegedly taken by the Corunna man was $300.
Taking anything, including scrap metal, off of private property is a crime, the sergeant explained.
"Some people have the idea that (because) it's back there in a dumpster, it's free to take. Well, that's not the case," he said. "We've got businesses that are constantly complaining about people taking their scrap metal from behind their buildings. They either reuse it, recycle it or get some money for it after they're done using it. They don't want people taking it."
"You can't take anything off a property. Even pallets are a big deal," Solwold added.
Under normal circumstances, Solwold indicated he would have written the Corunna man a citation for trespassing and made him return the scrap metal.
But given the man was allegedly intoxicated and in possession of such a large quantity of Acorn Stamping's scrap metal, the sergeant said those factors warranted an arrest.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.