Metro law enforcement is cracking down on scrap metal dealers. Oklahoma City police went undercover in February to see what businesses are in compliance with new state laws.
Undercover detectives visited 13 scrap metals shops and said most of the businesses agreed to buy illegal metal.
Metal Check in Southwest Oklahoma City was one of the businesses found to be in violation.
“It was just one of those things that it just slipped under the table,” said Michael Hyres, scrap metal buyer. “On a normal day it wouldn’t have happened.”
Hyres was on duty the day undercover officers came in to sell copper. He was behind the window and said he could not hear the outside buyer tell him the copper was burnt, meaning illegal.
“When copper is burnt it kind of turns pink and has black tarnish on it. There wasn’t a whole lot of that,” said Hyres. “So, I just thought, you know just one of those mistakes, ended up purchasing it.”
The business was given a municipal citation and fined nearly $200 for the violation.
But they were not the only ones.
In one sting, an employee was ticketed for illegally buying a scrap car part from the undercover officer and another person in line.
“Nine of those companies were found to be in violation of certain terms and conditions that metal dealers have to be in compliance with,” said Officer Megan Morgan, Oklahoma City Police Department. “Four of them were found to be in compliance.”
The four dealers that turned the metal away stated they do not buy copper, or the scrap parts did not meet state laws.
Police said the undercover operation was not just about catching businesses doing something wrong.
“They brought it inside and explained what we did wrong, what should have happened, said Hyres. “And it was one of those things I understood. I take responsibility for it and don’t think it will happen again.”
The charges will now go to the municipal attorney's office.