ELIMINATION OF SCRAP AND SALVAGE MATERIALS THEFT

    Significant increases in value of scrap and salvage metals have caused farmers and other rural business and real property to become the targets of aggressive and organized criminal efforts to steal large quantities of items containing these metals and seriously damage buildings and fixtures in order to free and retrieve objects containing these metals.  For criminals engaged in theft of metals from rural properties, the easiest and most effective way to financially gain from their theft is to pawn stolen metals to wholesale salvage and scrap metal dealers.

    Because of the form and nature of salvage and scrap metal, and because of the extreme lack of available documentation to prove ownership of metal being offered for sale, there is no meaningful opportunity for stolen metals offered to a dealer to be traced back to their rightful owner.  Without legislation that places on dealers some responsibility to identify and document persons offering salvage and scrap metals and the items being offered, farmers and other larger holders of metal items will continue to targeted by organized metal theft rings and will be unable to obtain meaningful recovery or restitution of items lost through theft.

    Contacts should be made to House and Senate members, especially those on the House and Senate Judiciary Committees.  Legislators should be urged to support enactment of legislation to place increased responsibility on wholesale dealers of scrap and salvage metals to make and keep accurate and detailed records of persons offering metals for sale to the dealer and metal items received by the dealer from the sale.