Scrap Metal Black Market Blacks Out Youth Groups

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The economy is down, scrap metal prices are up, and some recreation programs are in the dark – because thieves have taken the copper wire from their lights.

At least three soccer groups in the Atlanta area recently had thousands of dollars worth of wiring stolen from their outdoor light poles, according to CNN. The network found at least five similar incidents over the past three months – including one at Junior Optimists’ Field in Forth Worth, Texas, where the Optimist Club provides activities for low-income youth.

The crimes have left the youth groups scrambling to find other playing fields.

Copper fetches more than $3 a pound, up from $1 a pound a few years ago.

“There’s no way to prevent something like this,” Leonard Howell, president of the Tucker (Ga.) Youth Soccer Association, told CNN. “We can’t have people posted outdoors all night, and trying to get surveillance out there is very costly.”