August 17, 2008

Wheelchair Lift Stolen in Mid-Day

A wheelchair lift stolen in broad daylight may reflect the increased value of scrap metal, say officials in a Massachusetts community.

Salem's Ancient Order of Hibernians hall was victimized recently by bold thieves striking while fraternal organization members were distracted, The Boston Globe reported Sunday. They openly got away with a 1,400-pound apparatus made mostly of steel.

Tom Tardiff, the organization's chairman, said the thieves were seen "struggling with it. They were pulling it up. People watched them take off, and that's it. ... Nobody questioned it. They thought I was having the thing repaired. I can't believe someone would steal it."

Thefts of anything made of metal have been reported across the country as the price of metals continue to rise, said Bruce Savage, a spokesman for the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries.

"People become more emboldened to steal these materials because there's a financial payoff for it," he said.