Birmingham Police Solve More Than 100 Metal Theft Cases Using LeadsOnline

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Birmingham PD uses LeadsOnline to curtail metal theft epidemic.

“In our first two months of using LeadsOnline for metal theft investigations, we found more than 75 metal theft suspects who were victimizing the community," said Lt. Allen Treadaway of BPD.

In less than a year, Birmingham Police Department (BPD) says they have cleared more than 100 metal theft cases that would have remained a mystery without the use of the nationwide online investigations system, LeadsOnline.

“In our first two months of using LeadsOnline for metal theft investigations, we found more than 75 metal theft suspects who were victimizing the community with their crimes. Without the investigative power of LeadsOnline, these criminals would have continued their destruction in Birmingham and across the state of Alabama,” said Lieutenant Allen Treadaway with Birmingham Police Department in charge of the burglary and metal theft division.

Most recently, Detective Justin Howard, of the BPD Burglary Division, said that on July 10, they were interviewing a suspect about stolen car batteries taken from a local business. He said they ran the suspect’s name through LeadsOnline, which produced evidence of the suspect selling batteries the morning after they were reported stolen. When confronted with the evidence, the suspect confessed to multiple counts of theft.

LeadsOnline allows detectives to instantly search millions of transactions from scrap metal recyclers to locate stolen copper, catalytic converters and other metals. Because LeadsOnline is a nationwide online investigations system, detectives are able to search for stolen property across city, county and state lines.

In May, Detective Howard said the Department began investigating a case of nearly $150,000 worth of stolen batteries. Detectives said the suspect was selling more than 10,000 pounds of locomotive batteries that appeared to be stolen from his employer. LeadsOnline showed the suspect had been selling the batteries over the past three years to scrap metal recyclers across Alabama. Without this evidence, Detective Howard said the suspect would have continued his activity, and the business would still be losing money.

“LeadsOnline allows my detectives to work more cases in less time since we have eliminated the need to go from yard to yard trying to track down information,” said Lt. Treadaway. “Metal theft is an expensive and devastating crime, and I’m proud of the work my detectives are doing to take these destructive thieves off the streets of Birmingham.”

Birmingham is one of more than 100 law enforcement agencies, including Montgomery Police Department and Mobile County Sheriff’s Office, that use LeadsOnline to search for stolen metal and other pieces of stolen property across city, county and state lines. Governor Bentley recently enacted House Bill 278 as Act No. 426, making provision for all investigators in Alabama to be able to solve cases like this.

Arkansas, Arizona and Mississippi are three states with legislation similar to Alabama’s Act No. 426 that have implemented LeadsOnline as the statewide database for scrap metal recyclers to register with and report to.

More than 2,200 law enforcement agencies nationwide connect to LeadsOnline to streamline the process of receiving paper tickets that were time consuming and inefficient in helping solve crime. Receiving paper tickets from businesses like secondhand stores, pawn shops, and scrap metal recyclers ate up countless and costly man hours, resulting in a method that was complicated to search.

For more about LeadsOnline, please visit


About LeadsOnline:
LeadsOnline ( is the nation’s largest online investigative system used by more than 4,000 law enforcement agencies to recover stolen property and solve crimes. Each day, millions of items are added to the LeadsOnline database by businesses including secondhand stores, scrap metal recyclers, pawn shops, and Internet drop-off stores across all 50 states. Those records are instantly available to law enforcement agencies. The LeadsOnline system serves as an efficient and money-saving resource for detectives because it provides a cross-jurisdictional, instantaneous, and accurate database that stops criminals from escaping detection by selling stolen items in another city. An official eBay partner, LeadsOnline helps prevent illegal transactions on the eBay website by giving law enforcement access to the world’s largest online marketplace through automatic upload of all eBay transactions into the LeadsOnline database. LeadsOnline also includes LeadsOnlabs, a system for tracking those involved in the illegal manufacture of methamphetamines; a Metal Theft Investigation System designed to track copper and other metal thefts; and cross-checks names of pawn customers against the OFAC SDN list of known terrorists and narcotics traffickers. Each year, LeadsOnline is credited with recovering millions of dollars in stolen goods and solving thousands of crimes that are often associated with bigger crimes, such as homicide, identity theft, and arson. Based in Dallas and led by CEO Dave Finley, LeadsOnline works with thousands of agencies throughout the country, including the Chicago Police Department, the Dallas Police Department, and the San Francisco Police Department.

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Lindsay Williams
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