EUREKA SPRINGS -- After suspects created more than $20,000 in estimated damages at the deserted Victorian Inn by gutting and stealing all available sources of copper, Eureka Springs Police Department initially identified two suspects at the scene, and then tracked down two additional suspects using LeadsOnline, Arkansas's statewide metal theft database.
Eureka Springs Patrolman Brian Young discovered a vehicle parked outside of the Victorian Inn and found a significant amount of copper in the vehicle.
Suspects, Rodney Evans and Brandy Jung were found at the scene. Evans fled the scene on foot, but he was quickly tracked down and arrested and charged with parole violation and commercial burglary and theft of scrap metal.
Jung was arrested onsite as she was exiting the building. Jung's 5-month-old child was also present at the scene of the crime and was released, unharmed, to Department of Human Services.
Detectives identified two additional suspects using LeadsOnline, Arkansas' statewide database for metal theft investigations.
LeadsOnline records electronic transactions from scrap metal recyclers as well as pawn shops and secondhand stores nationwide, allowing investigators to search across city, county and state lines for stolen property.
Detective Brad Handley said, "Working these scrap metal cases is very important for the Eureka Springs PD because the criminals sell the scrap metal for a fraction of what it costs the victims to replace. Furthermore, the damage caused by the perpetrators in metal theft is at a staggering cost to the owners of the buildings that are vandalized."
Scrap metal recyclers in Arkansas, Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio and across the country report transactions electronically to law enforcement via LeadsOnline.
Arkansas is one of three states that has implemented LeadsOnline as the statewide metal theft database for law enforcement. Even if metal is stolen in Arkansas, and sold to a scrap yard in Mississippi, detectives will still be able to locate the stolen property.
LeadsOnline increases clearance rates and streamlines the once cumbersome process of receiving paper tickets that were time consuming and inefficient in helping solve crime. Receiving paper tickets ate up countless and costly man hours, resulting in a method that was complicated to search.
The online investigations system uses a variety of ways to search for stolen property, including serial and model numbers, as well as descriptions. Because the system is an online network that scrap yards, pawn shops and secondhand stores report to, police have real-time access to the information, no matter where the item is sold.