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Chicagoland Mon Mar 19 2012
Action Now members rallied in front of JB Metals in the Englewood neighborhood on Thursday morning to highlight a parasitic practice of profiting off of stolen goods. Activists, many residing in the area, claim the scrap metal company knowingly accepts stolen property like fences or aluminum siding from scrappers thus depreciating home values and further harming the neighborhood.
Mildred Watkins, an Englewood resident, told of her experience with the neighborhood problem. "I looked out my back door. My gate was gone. I said to myself, 'I know where it's at," said Watkins. "I came here to JB Metals and had to ask for it back."
While Englewood residents attempt to revitalize their neighborhood by improving their home's looks and value, the activists believe the scrap yard, located at the corner of 63rd and Bell, encourages the theft of private property by making no attempt to refuse stolen goods. Meanwhile residents say their property taxes have increased while their home values plummeted.
The Great Recession left millions of people either without a job or forced them out of their homes. The organization ushered in the vacant property ordinance last year that forces banks to maintain the properties. This effort has not proven to hinder the theft of the metal like gutters, siding, or gates from the properties.
In a press release Action Now says, "selling it at scrap yards has become so profitable that vandals now steal metal from any property, whether it is occupied or not."
It has left residents up in arms.
"This company has been taking city property," said Alderman Toni Foulkes. "One guy we caught up here had a whole truckload of manhole covers, which is illegal. We've sent task forces in and they [JB Metals] seem okay for a minute. You wait a little bit and they are at their old shenanigans again."
Alderman Foulkes continued in the video below by connecting the dots between this problem and the foreclosure crisis.
In an effort to show the impact of the scrap metal yards like JB Metals, Action Now member Charles Brown presented a shopping cart full of items often carried to the scrap yard. The point did not need to be made by the organization. During the press conference at least a dozen people passed by with shopping carts, pull carts or a carload full of goods.
After the event a man dragged a queen sized box spring towards to scrap yard along the busy road of 63rd St.
Action Now would like to see scrap metal facilities closed until a better practice can be found.
This was also posted at The Political is Personal.