A Lawrenceville man was arrested recently and charged with stealing nearly $56,000 worth of high-capacity generator batteries in a Barrow County salvage yard and selling the material to an area business specializing in scrap metal.
According to a Georgia Bureau of Investigation news release, following an investigation into the thefts by the Barrow County Sheriff's Office and Auburn Police Department, Richard Rowland, 50, was identified through the GBI's Secondary Metals Recyclers (SMR) Database.
Information retrieved on Rowland found he had sold numerous stolen items to a local salvage yard. The SMR Database contained Rowland’s picture, a copy of his ID card, and images of the stolen items Rowland sold.
The database was established by the state of Georgia in 2014 to maintain purchase transaction information from such businesses as scrap yards and recyclers. The database was set up in an effort to reduce theft of metals and assist law enforcement in such theft investigations. The database is maintained by the company LeadsOnline on behalf of the GBI. To date, over 3,000,000 transactions have been uploaded to the system by its 255 participating businesses.
The database is accessible and searchable by law enforcement agencies. Law enforcement personnel may go to the LeadsOnline website at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-311-2656 to register.