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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6592.