Scrapping becoming a big business in the suburbs

Posted at 6:32 PM, Feb 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-16 10:34:47-05

A law was passed in 2014 to crack down on illegal scrapping, yet innocent people are still being victimized. 

Pastor Semmeal Thomas is one of the victims. His church, like homes and schools across the city of Detroit, has been hit by illegal scrappers. 

"They hit me back to back, two years in a row," said Pastor Thomas. 

Metal thieves made off with the struggling church's air conditioning units. Insurance didn't cover the full cost of replacing them. It took two years of penny pinching to get the heat fully operational again.

7 Action News wanted to find out if the new laws were working. Could anyone off the street make fast cash, despite the new law? 

To find out, 7 Action News teamed up with DTE energy to test scrap yards. What we found out: some scrap yards in the suburbs aren't playing by the rules. 

Click on the video player to watch Ronnie Dahl's full report:

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In Detroit, you can report illegal scrapping, illegal dumping or graffiti by calling the Detroit Police tip line, 313-235-4359 or by emailing