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House of Representatives
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: February 25, 2013 12:09 PM
From: Representative Tina M. Davis
To: All House members
Subject: Request for Co-sponsorship—Amending Act 113 of 2008, the Scrap Material Theft Prevention Act
As you know, scrap metal theft is still a crime epidemic in our communities, despite our best legislative efforts. In fact, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, some copper thieves are so organized that they profit roughly $20,000 per month—costing homeowners, communications companies and transportation systems millions of dollars in damage each year. In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that seeks to provide law enforcement officers greater ease in tracking stolen scrap materials by imposing additional requirements on scrap metal operators and recycling processing facilities.

While we have strong penalties for the criminals who are caught, many thieves are still finding ways around the law. Currently, scrap metal dealers are only required to record transactions for scrap metal that is valued at $100 or more. In essence, scrap metal thieves can trade stolen scrap material valued at just under the minimum recording requirement and distribute it over several locations to “cash-in” on the stolen property. Moreover, when transactions are finalized in cash, such thieves can get away completely undetected. Without stronger record-keeping on behalf of dealers, many law enforcement officials have trouble tracking suspect scrap metal transactions.

In an effort to further curb this growing problem, my legislation would amend Act 113 of 2008 to require scrap metal dealers to record transactions of any value as well as maintain a photograph of each material purchased from a seller as part of the transaction records. Furthermore, this bill would establish provisions to prevent dealers from entertaining cash transactions and prohibit any transaction with sellers who are known to be scrap metal thieves. Additionally, this bill would require dealers to place a 48 hour withholding period prior to paying sellers and new penalties will be established for vehicles that are involved in the theft of scrap material. Also, my legislation would provide for victims of scrap metal theft to request from law enforcement a copy of transaction records to search for their missing property, while ensuring sellers’ personal information is protected for privacy.

Many of these provisions were inspired by recent changes to Ohio’s scrap metal law—one of the strongest metal theft prevention laws in the nation. It is my hope that by adopting these new standards, we can help our law enforcement officers by allowing for better tracking of stolen scrap material. Therefore, I encourage you to join me in sponsoring this important legislation.


Introduced as HB1086