SANFORD, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Police often ask for the public's help in solving crimes, and this week the strategy worked when a scrap metal dealer helped police recover 48 bronze vases stolen from a Portland cemetery.
JMS Cleaning owner Fred Smith purchased the vases. He contacted police when he realized they were stolen. The scrap dealer says the incident is part of a larger problem. He says the police and the courts could be doing more to help scrap dealers identify stolen items and likely offenders.
Smith says he would like to see those convicted of theft prohibited from selling to pawn shops or scrap dealers.
"Anybody convicted of theft, I would like to see a list given to the pawn shops and the scrap yards as part of their probation so they can release the list to us, so this would make it easier for us to stop some of the theft"
There are online resources out there for law enforcement to get the word out about stolen scrap metal. The website ScrapTheftAlert.com allows police to report stolen scrap metal. Scrap dealers can then log on and search in their area for stolen items. The website does not currently list any reports here in Maine.