On Christmas Day, 1901, The Scranton Tribune reported that George Cordener, his son, Eddie, and "their hired man, Flaherty," who were arrested earlier in the week on the charge of stealing copper wire from the Traction company were committed to jail in default of bail.
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An article in the September 2011 issue of Parks & Recreation (the magazine, not tv series)  discusses metal theft problems faced by parks. In “The Things They Steal,” Chief of Public Policy for the National Park and Recreation Association Richard Dolesh writes:

“Whether it is the lingering effects of the recession or just a nasty uptick in bad behavior among thieves specializing in construction materials, there has been an astonishing increase in the theft of metal from public parks in the past three years. Many public park and recreation agencies across the country are reporting the highest level of metal theft from parks that they have ever seen...no metal appears to be safe: Bronze, aluminum, steel, stainless steel, and wrought-iron have been wrenched from park fixtures and buildings and sold to scrap recyclers. Thieves have stolen metal downspouts, aluminum planks from bleachers, backflow preventers from irrigation systems, bronze memorial plaques, pool ladders, park signs, water fountains, fire-fighting nozzles, and even the 300-pound bronze bust of a city father. The losses have been in the millions of dollars per year and going forward they could exceed $10 million annually, according to park administrators.”

The article details the many metal theft problems faced by park administrators and the practices implemented to counteract the thefts. Some of the recommendations in the article include:

“1. Have staff and contractors mark copper and other metals with indelible paint or other markings at the time of installation.
2. Try low-tech, low-cost deterrents, such as Baltimore City's chicken wire and foam insulation theft preventers. (Please see main article.)
3. Incentivize staff to generate good ideas for theft prevention.
4. Consider replacing copper, bronze, and other metals with alternate materials, such as stone, plastic, or composites.
5. Install electronic sensors or use video surveillance for expensive HVAC installations.
6. Don't wait till a theft has occurred -- identify and evaluate high-risk locations and provide the best security and patrols that are possible within your budget”
On December 14, 1899, The Southwestern Telegraph and Telephone Company offered a $100 reward for the arrest and conviction of thieves who stole long distance copper wire in Dallas, TX. The company  also offered a $50 reward for the arrest and conviction of thieves "in similar cases elsewhere in North Texas."
A year ago today, MetalTheft.Net went online, launching itself into the hearts of dozens. 
The latest installment of Scrapped, "The Birth of MetalTheft.Net," has been posted. Click here for link.
On December 5, 1905, the San Francisco Call reported the following copper theft court scene:

"The young wife and child of William Corkey, who was arrested with his brother-in law, John Audit, for stealing copper wire, delayed the proceedings in court this morning by their violent weeping when both men pleaded guilty to petty larceny. It was several minutes before they could be quieted. Police Judge Samuels will sentence the men tomorrow."