The Tennessee Highway Patrol Criminal Investigations Division (THP-CID), along with the Marion County Sheriff’s Department, charged six individuals on Monday for an elaborate scheme of allegedly stealing tractor trailer loads of cargo worth $1.8 million over the last two years.
Investigators say that Jay Sanders of Monteagle and Gary Alto of Whitwell were employed by SCS Trucking in Whitwell. They were responsible for hauling loads of scrap metal from a company in Ashland City, Tn. to South Pittsburg. The two truck drivers allegedly devised a scheme in which they would pay off security guards at one plant and workers at another, and then divert the loads to Dodson Scrap Metal Yard in Whitwell.
Authorities said the owners of Dodson Scrap Metal Yard, Randall and Melissa Brown allegedly would not document receiving the metal and would haul it on their own tractor trailer to a scrap metal dealer in Alabama for cash. The scheme has allegedly been ongoing since at least 2010.
Investigators charged Jay Sanders, Gary Alto, Randall Brown, Melissa Brown, James King and Craig Meeks each with theft of property over $250,000. Theft over $250,000 is a class A felony which carries a standard sentence of 15–25 years in prison.
“Cargo theft is a nationwide issue with a significant impact on the United States economy. It is estimated that cargo crime accounts for a direct merchandise loss of $15 to $30 billion per year. Virtually all goods manufactured domestically and internationally are transported by truck and train within the continental U.S. Studies indicate that 80 percent of all cargo thefts are ‘inside jobs,’” stated Sergeant Matthew Minter with the THP-CID.