Over the past 10 or so years, we have seen a dramatic increase in both demand and therefore, price paid for raw metals. A direct result of this is a paired increase in the number of thieves targeting athletic facilities, high schools, universities, colleges and public park properties for their rows upon rows of aluminum.
Bleachers are not among the only targets of these fly-by-night thieves, there have also been various thefts of player’s benches, aluminum tables and a number of other metal-based products left outdoors.
Given the size of some of these structures, removing them and preparing them for a scrap metal buyer is no easy feat. These criminals are extremely organized in choosing their targets and executing the removal of these bleacher systems as quickly as possible. Most crimes occur during the night-time hours and often require a number of individuals with the right tools and transportation to pull off the heist.
Once the bleacher is deconstructed and moved off-site, the thieves will then cut the aluminum up into much smaller pieces and often mix it with other materials to provide the illusion of legitimate construction debris.
Today there are nationwide theft prevention programs in place across North America in an effort to slow the theft and sale of stolen raw metals, with many scrap dealers and depots being made aware of the practices of the thieves to increase the accountability of the perpetrators of stolen goods.
While there is not always a sure-fire way to deter all thieves, there are a number of preventative measures facility owners and operators can take to prevent the loss of bleachers and other metal equipment and infrastructure:
There are a wide variety of manufacturers of tamper-resistant hardware, but this often comes at a very high cost. On the other hand, spot-welding the connections at the bolt and nut can provide a cost-effective solution to deterring theft.
Keep the Area Well Lit
For the very same reason many parking lots are well-lit throughout the night, keeping your equipment under the bright lights is an easy way to deter thieves who would much rather operate under the cover of the dark night sky.
Engravings and Markings
Most scrap metal dealers and buyers will inspect most of what is turned into them, especially in large quantities from unknown sellers. Having your organization’s name or logo engraved in numerous and inconspicuous locations on your bleachers can often lead to an arrest if the theft has been reported to police.