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Home  |  News  |  New law aims to curb copper thefts

New law aims to curb copper thefts
Tuesday, August 9, 2011


COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Copper thieves are hitting cars, homes and even electrical substations to get their hands on the sought-after metal. It's been happening a lot lately, but a new law aims to make it more difficult for thieves to cash in.

It's as common as it is hard to trace. "I can show the sheriff permits and pictures of where I'm working in the house, but I can't prove that's where that came from -- and I mean, there ain't no ID numbers on it," said B.W. Stone, one of many legitimate copper sellers out there.

After next week, copper sellers will need more than a driver's license to sell their scraps. "I'm real confident that after next Tuesday when this law goes into effect, we're going to see a drastic decrease in the amount of copper and metal stolen because crooks aren't going to come in here to the sheriff's department to get that permit," said Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott.

People who sell or transport copper will now have to have a permit from their home county's sheriff's department. They're free, and last either a year or 48 hours.

Recyclers will be responsible for verifying each permit. Richland County has an automated website, but other counties could require a phone call.

That's time and legwork recyclers are not looking forward to sacrificing. "Not everybody's happy with everything, but everybody's happy with what we got and we're going to make the best of it," said Lott.

"By strengthening the permitting process, putting some safeguards in with our business friends today, I think this is a giant step forward." said Sen. Joel Lourie.

Stone's willing to take the time if that's what it takes. "It makes more trouble for me, but I'm against people stealing air conditioners," said Stone. "So I'll cooperate to help stop that."

Source: http://www.wistv.com/story/15231519/new-law-aims-to-curb-copper-thefts

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