A free theft-notification Web site helped police recover stolen sculptures in less than a week.

ScrapTheftAlert.com lets police send detailed descriptions of stolen items to recycling operations and other law-enforcement agencies within a 100+-mile radius of the theft. Scrap processors can also alert police when they are offered suspicious materials at the scrap yard. The system currently has over 7,000 subscribers. Nearly 2,500 law-enforcement professionals in the U. S. and Canada are registered to use it.

Five bronze sculptures were stolen from a museum in Montgomery County, Md., late Friday or early Saturday. The theft was noticed and reported to police on Monday morning. An employee of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), based in Washington, D. C., heard a report of the theft on a local news radio station later that day. That night, ISRI employees posted an alert for the missing material.

The next morning, employees at Montgomery Scrap Corp. read the alert, recognized the materials that had been sold to the scrap yard on Saturday morning, and contacted Montgomery County Police. Because the sculptures were damaged, they were not recognized as artwork.

The company supplied police with a copy of the drivers’ license of the seller, which lead to the police issuing an arrest warrant. For more information, visit www.scraptheftalert.com.

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