By Lindsay Cohen email Posted by Rachel Leigh email
LAKE WORTH, FL (WFLX) - Chalk it up to the ailing economy: Thieves thirsting for a new target are now hitting up beer kegs and turning them in to scrap yards for quick cash.
"It's stainless steel, so yes, it's worth a lot of money," said Jon Hatadis, manager at BX Beer Depot in Lake Worth. "A few people will steal them, get rid of them, scrap them and things like that."
The price of stainless steel scrap has more than doubled in the past few years, experts say, which has translated into more people searching for the metal canisters behind bars and restaurants. They then try to redeem them at scrap yards for money.
The Lake Worth store has felt the effects of the thefts first-hand: Distributors have more than doubled the cost they charge the store for kegs - from $15 to $35 - in the past two years, said store owner Sally Parsons. Parsons says most stores have no choice but to pass that cost on to the consumer.
"They're understandable," Hatadis added. "Customers that have been coming here a long, long time. They understand that the price goes up."
Keg thefts join a growing number of metal objects stolen from public places for their scrap value in recent months. The list includes copper wiring, manhole covers and brass fire pipe fixtures.