At the north corner of Morehouse Parish, there is a business that is leading the way to keeping the parish clean of abandoned vehicles and piles of junk.
This business, Roadrunner Recycling, has been located in Beekman for the past seven years and has overcame many obstacles to keep the doors open and being a place people can bring metal of all types as well as Catalytic converters, automobiles, batteries, yellow brass, aluminum cans, auto parts and iron
Owner Matt Barnes recently upgraded the business by installing numerous cameras and a new computer system which takes a picture of every vehicle that enters, scans seller's drivers license along with their thumb print and gives a detailed report of every item brought in. Each night, this information is transferred electronically to LeadsOnline, the nation's largest online investigation system for law enforcement, providing rapid electronic access to thousands of transactions of reporting businesses including scrap metal processors, secondhand stores, Internet drop-off stores and pawn shops.
Barnes has also invested in the community by placing fencing around the property and keeps it as clean as possible.
But, for all the work that Barnes and his staff of 24 have done, laws regarding scrap dealers and the selling of scrap metal are making it harder to keep the doors open.
"We try so hard to stay in compliance with the laws and help the local law enforcement any way we can, but we are loosing customers daily due to tight regulations," Barnes said.
These regulations, which include holding money for five days when copper is brought in and having to write a check for any amounts over $300, are hurting the business because patrons can drive right over the state line into Arkansas and get cash on the spot. For those bringing copper to Roadrunner, they must be paid by check and the business is required by law to hold the check for five days and then mail it to the address on the customer's driver's license. If their address has changed, the customer must fill out an affidavit to that effect.
Barnes understands the need for stricter control over people selling scrap but also is trying to continue his business and pay his employees a fair wage.
"I hate criminals and have always tried to alert authorities any time I thought we might have something that was stolen and actually want their presence at the shop," Barnes continued. "For the criminal element, this is a good thing. But, for my honest, regular customers, it isn't.
I have customers who come from Arkansas and if they have to be paid with a check, a lot of times their bank will hold the check because it is out of state," he continued.