Scrap metal bill advances

There is help on the way for the City of Trenton and the numerous persons, businesses, and other entities that have become crime victims during the dramatic surge in metal thievery.

Criminals in many areas of the state have begun plotting out methods for absconding with anything containing certain metals, like copper and aluminum, which have experienced significant price increases in recent years.

Assistance for those beleaguered by this crime wave comes in the form of legislation proposed by a trio of Republican legislators from South Jersey who have apparently taken notice of the trend and plan to legislate the problem away – Sen. Christopher Connors, Assemblyman Brian Rumpf and Assemblyman Daniel Van Pelt, all R-9.

Under their proposal scrap metal business owners would be required to engage in better record-keeping practices, since they are the usual recipient of the stolen metals.

“Unfortunately, honest operators of scrap metal yards unknowingly become entangled in these crimes by virtue of being the only venue where thieves can turn a profit from their stolen property,” said Assemblyman Brian Rumpf, R-Little Egg Harbor, in a statement.

The law requires such businesses to request identification from anyone making scrap metal sales. On that basis they would be required to maintain records for up to five years consisting of the name and address of metal sellers, which could be used by law enforcement officials to prosecute metal thieves.

Other portions of the law require businesses to disclose sale information to law enforcement officers and to promptly report suspicious sales. Scrap metal businesses found in violation of the disclosure and reporting stipulations would be subject to various penalties, according to the legislation.

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One response to “Scrap metal bill advances

  1. westwrdguy57

    I’m getting a little fed up with laws. Seems all these legislators do all day is dream up ways to make life more difficult for the citizens who have practically no control over their whims.

    Realizing some scrap metals have recently become a more expensive commodity, a very few out there have made things harder for the honest scrap collectors. Copper, aluminum and brass are the most sought after by junk peddlers. Brass, though is much harder to come by today, except in older homes. Not to say it is never used, but is not as abundant and as easy to get hold of as copper. Aluminum has gone way up in price, too. And all these metals are out there in abundance, where only experienced peddlers know where it is most likley to be found. Unfortunately, and due to the poor economy, a few dishonest peddlers (I think most know the law and obey it) and likely more homeless people have resorted to stealing those copper pipes that are always left laying around construction sites. The more bold of them will steal whatever from the insides of finished houses.

    Of course it’s one thing to rip the copper piping, from the joists they are nailed to or ‘lift’ long lengths of unused copper piping and yet another to pick up the scrap pieces the plumbers snip off. And the same goes for aluminum. Big difference in picking the cut up scrap pieces for profit and tearing an entire downspout and gutters off of a home. And if fortunate enough, since brass is paying very well at local yards to find any scrap at all. One would need steal an entire set of drain pipes from the underside of sinks or rip off the faucets, many of them not made of brass. But here again, I don’t think it’s in too abundant supply these days, at least being left on the building sites. I’m sure plumbers are smart enough to not leave them on site in them places at higher risk of theft. Large sites are patrolled by cops and if one were seen driving out of there at 3 am with a load of anything, would surely result in a vehicle stop.

    The law where it weighs most heavily is on is the scrapyard owner. To have them make that judgement call as to whether or not the scrap goods may be stolen or not makes for a stressful day. Holding them accountable too, only hurts business and places an unecessary burden by having to gather information each time someone drops a load of metal. Homeless people might not have the needed documents to verify a valid home address. So if they obtained the scrap legally I can foresee a problem for both sides. And when someone drives in with a full truckload containing a variety of metals, each piece would have to be sorted out..instead of the old way where it was dumped in one spot and sorted later.

    Never before was any of this needed. Better policing can prevent lots of the thefts. Come on, when a cop sees a guy wheeling a shopping cart full of new copper piping along with shiny new brass parts, it should arouse suspicion right then. Most of the large thefts occur at night making it easier to spot thieves.

    This legislation, if it does becomes law, will place too much accountability on those in the business of scrap thus making them wary they’ll become unsuspecting targets for crimes they never committed. Just more problems for all is what it is.

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