Arrests mark first test of seizing vehicles from scrap metal the - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Arrests mark first test of seizing vehicles from scrap metal theft suspects

Posted: Updated:
Vehicle seized after the arrest of scrap metal theft suspects. Vehicle seized after the arrest of scrap metal theft suspects.
David Lewis David Lewis
Joseph McAllister (Source: LMDC) Joseph McAllister (Source: LMDC)
Jeremy McAllister (Source: LMDC) Jeremy McAllister (Source: LMDC)
Leigh Honsell (Source: LMDC) Leigh Honsell (Source: LMDC)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - David Lewis isn't shocked. He isn't even surprised that a thief or thieves tried to salvage every scrap of metal out of the foreclosed property he called home on Craig Avenue in South Louisville's Woodruff neighborhood.

"I couldn't raise my two girls here," said Lewis told WAVE 3 News New Year's Eve. "I remember one year, they were stealing the gates of our fences in the back."

Since the day after Christmas, Joseph McAllister, 51, Jeremy McAllister, 31, and Leigh Honsell, 33, have been awaiting arraignment on burglary charges. Police say a witness tipped investigators, after seeing the trio break in the home's back door.

Officers found the three sitting inside Jeremy McAllister's 1989 Jeep Cherokee in an alley nearby, according to the arrest report. The Cherokee contained copper piping, and a variety of other metal scrap, the report stated. The SUV has been sitting in the Louisville Metro Police impound yard ever since.

"Not only do you stand the possibility of going to jail, but you also stand the possibility of losing your vehicle," said Louisville Metro Council member David James (District 6).

The arrests marked the first test of an ordinance that Council toughened more than a year ago. It allows police to impound a vehicle for as long as one year if investigators determine that it has hauled stolen metal or stolen motor vehicles intended to be sold for scrap. It's not a full-scale asset forfeiture, but it allows vehicle owners to be assessed ‘hauling and holding fees.'

"There are a few more steps we might look at," James said.

Lewis believes Louisville also should require would-be profiteers to show titles for all non-functional or wrecked vehicles that they intended to sell for scrap.

"It's personal," said Lewis. "Somebody stole a '68 Cadillac Coupe de Ville I had sitting on the curb - in broad daylight."

"Those are some of the things we're looking at," said James.

Among others; pushing Kentucky's General Assembly to turn the "impound ordinance" into a state law.

"Otherwise, it makes Louisville the place people don't want to go to to steal, but they go to the surrounding counties to steal," James said.

If Lewis had his druthers, Louisville also would do away with Junk Day; an opportunity to discard broken appliances and other items too cumbersome to be hauled away as trash.

"This is where they (thieves) can come into your neighborhood and steal openly," he said. "It's like a yard sale."

Copyright 2013 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.