Police were seen patrolling the perimeter of the plant Monday, even as suburban teens threw bricks at buildings and thieves continued to load pickup trucks with scrap metal.
Last week, Bing’s office and the police department told us they were oblivious to a large backhoe and dozens of scrappers who have been aggressively tearing apart the asbesto-laden Packard over the past three months.
The latest incident is yet another slap in the face to firefighters who are forced to battle more blazes with less gear.
As I write this, thieves in a backhoe are stealing large metal beams even as a fire burns in the plant, a few buildings away.
In the past three days, someone set fire to five houses in a two-block area of East Canfield and Garland. The blazes spread and consumed nine abandoned houses and damaged four occupied homes.
The money is quick and easy – and the metal market is booming, producing record profits for shady scrapyards and a modest living for scrappers.
“Oh, God,” Janet Howard said, fearing the spreading flames would devour the entire block of Garland and Canfield, where an arsonist also set a blaze the day before. “Please. Please, God.”
Investigation: Thieves tear apart Packard Plant for scrap metal in broad daylight; neighbors at risk
Scrapping thieves have become alarmingly more daring and audacious as police have virtually ignored an organized scrapping operation that has sprung up at the abandoned Packard Plant in Detroit.
Bing is expected to call a 1 p.m. meeting in council chambers in what almost certainly will be a bitter, combative session. Crowds have grown more hostile, and the mayor and council’s relationship is dysfunctional.
The investigation is focused on contracts with outside companies, among other financial transactions, sources told the Motor City Muckraker. The news comes at a vulnerable time for the library system.