published Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Six charged in theft of $1.8 million in scrap metal in Marion County

  • photo
    Jay Sanders is one of six people charged with theft over $250,000 in Marion County. State investigators believe he helped develop a scheme that resulted in the theft of $1.8 million in scrap metal.
    Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

  • photo
    James King is one of six people charged with theft over $250,000 in Marion County. State investigators believe he is participant a scheme that resulted in the theft of $1.8 million in scrap metal.
    Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Six individuals have been charged in Marion County, accused of stealing $1.8 million worth of scrap metal in a two-year operation involving truck drivers, security guards, workers at scrap metal plants and the owners of a scrap metal yard.

Jay Sanders, Gary Alto, Randall Brown, Melissa Brown, James King and Craig Meeks have been charged with theft of property over $250,000, a charge which carries a sentence of 15 to 25 years in prison, according to a news release from the Tennessee Department of Safety, which investigated the theft along with the Marion County Sheriff's Department.

Sanders and Alto, drivers at SCS Trucking in Whitwell, Tenn., developed the scheme, paying off security guards and workers at two different scrap metal plants to divert the loads they were carrying to Dodson Scrap Metal Yard in Whitwell, the release states.

Randall and Melissa Brown, owners of the metal yard, would not document the metal loads and used a personal tractor-trailer to transport the metal to a dealer in Alabama for cash, according to the release.

No one could be reached at SCS Trucking or Dodson Scrap Metal for comment.

Marion County Sheriff "Bo" Burnett said SCS Trucking, which is a part of Caterpillar, Inc., noticed that loads of scrap metal were failing to make it to delivery locations.

"It was reported by the victim, the company, to us, and we passed it along to the state," Burnett said. "It's something statewide, so they took the lead on the investigation."

Burnett said some of the individuals charged have turned themselves into police, and he expects the rest to do so in the next few days.

Contact staff writer Rachel Bunn at rbunn@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6592.

about Rachel Bunn...

Rachel Bunn is originally from Ellijay, Ga., and graduated from the University of Georgia with degrees in magazines and history. While at UGA, she wrote for the student magazine UGAzine, served as news editor for the student newspaper, The Red & Black, and spent a semester studying British history at Oxford University in Oxford, England. She has previously worked at The Rockdale Citizen in Conyers, Ga., and The Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the ...

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