MCS goes “Green” to Catch Copper Thieves

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(Memphis) Fluorescent green spray paint is now a trademark of Memphis City Schools.

"We spray the actual coil," said Brian Shipp, the director of facilities with MCS. "You see this? Call us. Call the police."

Scrap yards from Mississippi to Arkansas are doing that.

Just recently, Crittenden County Recycling called police on Dontell Vester, when he allegedly tried to sell green spray-painted copper.

Shipp says Vester stole it from Doubletree Elementary School, "We've probably had maybe had a hundred thousand dollars in vandalism at Doubletree alone."

Shipp says about 8 Memphis schools are hit-up for copper every year costing MCS about $400,000 annually.

That's why it decided to go green, "Saying, 'hey, if you see a coil come in with this, please alert police cause it is stolen from Memphis City Schools'."

Shipp says the strategy has been working.

Since it started spray-painting its copper about a year and a half ago, he says four thieves have been busted, "It has been a very good deterrent."

And that's the idea, get the word out and prevent thieves from going after MCSs copper in the first place because once they steal the coils, the damage is already done.

Shipp says this latest theft at Doubletree is costing the school system $37,000 to fix.