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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