Authorities arrest North Palm Beach man for scrap metal theft

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - A suburban North Palm Beach man was arrested Monday after he was accused of stealing more than $10,000 worth in materials from a Palm Beach Gardens construction site.

Jeremy Dean Butler, 32, is being held at the Palm Beach County Jail in lieu of $7,000 bail. He is facing three counts each of trespassing in a designated construction site, grand theft from a posted construction site, dealing in stolen property and false verification of ownership.

According to a report, Palm Beach County sheriff's Detective Alfredo Forgione began investigating the case in March after receiving reports that a man identified as Sonny Coffman visited Trademark Metals Recycling in suburban West Palm Beach on March 2 in search for his missing construction materials.

Coffman told an employee that someone had stolen water main pipes, fittings, valves and assemblies from his construction site at 5551 PGA Blvd. A quick search of the yard yielded the materials that Coffman said were his.

Forgione learned from Coffman that the materials were stolen sometime between Feb. 24 and Feb. 27.

Coffman said he could easily identify his materials because they were "very unique and specific" to the construction site.

Coffman said in addition to the materials that were worth about $10,000, "brass bypass assemblies" valued at $3,900 were also stolen from the site between Feb. 28 and Feb 29.

Forgione's investigation found that the brass had been sold for scrap at H.O.C.C. Inc. in West Palm Beach.

Butler was identified by his driver license as the person who sold the materials at both metal yards, according to the arrest report.

Forgione is the only detective assigned full-time to Palm Beach County's confounding issue of metal thefts.

His efforts against scrap metal thieves were featured in a Jan. 17 Palm Beach Post article that showed a trend of empty buildings being targeted for their metal.


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