A scrap metal business in Huntington, W.Va., has been ordered to dissolve and pay $200,000 in restitution after its owner, William "Bill" Smith, was convicted of engaging in an organized criminal enterprise. He is the first person to be convicted under the state statue, which went into effect in 2010.
The Herald-Dispatch has the details:
blockquote> Smith and West End Recycling, located at 720 15th St. West, were indicted on 202 counts last year related to receiving stolen scrap metal.
The conviction of engaging in an organized criminal enterprise is the first in the state under a law intended to deter the theft of metal, which rose sharply a decade ago along with the rise of drug addiction in the state. Assistant Prosecutor Joe Fincham defined organized crime as when five or more persons engage in a criminal offense for at least six months. Smith and West End Recycling's offense was receiving stolen property.
Fincham called the conviction successful and said it has had a tremendous effect on local crime.
"The reason there was so much copper theft is because everyone knew there was a place to take it," he said. "They knew if you stole cooper you could take it to West End Recycling and turn it into money for your next fix. No longer is that the case.”