Metal Theft Bill Unveiled in U.S. Senate

With the theft of copper and other metals becoming commonplace both in the United States and abroad, a metal theft bill has been introduced in the Senate.

The bill would make metal theft a federal crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a fine, or both.

In most cases, the bill would require scrap dealers to keep written or electronic records of purchases, including a description of the items, the seller’s name and address, and the make, model and license plate of the seller’s vehicle.

“These thieves will stop at nothing to get this high-priced metal and make a quick buck—from damaging public infrastructure to stealing from churches and even taking brass stars from our veterans’ graves,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., the bill’s chief sponsor.

“This legislation will crack down on metal thieves, helping put them behind bars and make it more difficult for them to sell their stolen goods.”

Sellers would have to show proof that they own the metal, or are authorized to sell it. Recyclers would need to have “a reasonable basis to believe” that the documentation is valid. Dealers found in violation would face a civil penalty of up to $10,000.

The bill, introduced November 15, and was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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Peninsula Light Company June 2012 newsletter concerning Copper Thefts

Thefts of copper, bronze, and aluminum are on the rise at abandoned commercial buildings, empty homes and—most dangerously—at power substations near neighborhoods.

Peninsula Light Company (PLC), needs your help to keeping their equipment safe, to prevent outages and save lives.

Copper now sells for about five times the amount it went for in 2001. PLC uses copper to ground our equipment, protecting it from electrical surges and lightning by giving electricity a safe path to ground.

This year the WA State legislators passed HB 2570 to combat metal theft. The bill includes a specification that it is first-degree theft to take metal wire from a utility, including a “consumer-owned utility,” if the resulting property damage is at least $5,000. It will be second-degree theft if damages run between $750 and $4,999.

To protect the public, PLC has surrounded their substations with secure fencing, has posted warning signs and implemented other security measures. If you notice anything unusual, such as an open substation gate, open equipment or hanging wire, call PenLight immediately at (253) 857-5950. If you see anyone other than our utility personnel or contractors around substations or other electric facilities, call Law Enforcement.

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CenturyLink Takes Copper Theft Seriously

Due to the increase in copper prices and theft of copper, CenturyLink is working with federal, state and local elected officials to discourage these thefts by establishing or strengthening metal theft laws to give the police more power to deal with these crimes.

CenturyLink needs your help to stop metal theft.

Be aware of the signs of copper theft, which include stockpiled wires and cables, burnt cable indicating that the insulation has been melted off, painted black ladders that can blend in at night and large amounts of cut cable near non-branded vehicles. Should you witnesses this type of suspicious activity, CenturyLink urges you to report it to local authorities immediately.


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Copper theft arrests lead to other stolen goods

An investigation into a $500,000 copper heist leads to the seizure of two semi-trailers. Organized theft of copper, across the United States continues to be on the increase.


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Copper theft on a grand scale.

U.S. border enforcement agents and the Arizona Department of Public Safety said Tuesday that an investigation into the September theft of copper from a mining facility in Hayden, Ariz., has led to the recovery at the Port of Los Angeles of 144 tons of stolen copper ingots about to be shipped to China. This case clearly involves organized crime and illustrates the types of theft, transportation, and shipping, organizations set up to further their criminal enterprise.


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