Muscle in metal law considered

WARREN – Looking to sell scrap metals?

Salvagers might have to wait to receive pay for items sold to scrap yards within city limits, according to a proposal to be discussed tonight by the city council during a legislative meeting.

Councilman Eddie Colbert, D-7th Ward, is looking to toughen city scrap regulations requiring scrap yards to wait 24 to 48 hours before paying for metals. The plan is to give officials time to determine if the scrap was obtained legally.

“We are looking to establish a process in which people removing scrap from properties must show permits that allowed them to do the work,” Colbert said. “The idea is to allow officials to make sure the scrapper has the proper permit that would give him access to scrap materials.”

“The only thing currently is needed is a picture ID,” Colbert said.

Mitigating the financial reward to those who are stealing copper and other metals is the goal of the legislation.

The need for new regulations has increased over the years as people have entered homes and businesses to steal copper pipes, electric wiring and other metal pieces.

“We are not only losing individual houses, but thieves are devastating entire neighborhoods,” Colbert said. “As long as there is a possibility of a financial reward, thieves will continue stripping them.”

Colbert said he will approach neighboring communities to see if they would be interested in passing similar legislation.

“I know if we are the only community to pass something like this, the scrap will be taken to the scrap yard in the next community,” Colbert said.

Councilman Alford Novak, D-2nd Ward, says there is a definite need for tougher scrap laws.

“I have a relative working at a recycling yard in another community who says people are bringing in manhole covers,” Novak said. “This has got to be dealt with.”

Novak said he is worried about people going into RG Steel and the GE buildings as those companies close down.

“We saw what happened to the former Delphi building on Griswold,” he said. The shuttered plant became a frequent target for thieves.

Novak also notes there seems to be an increase of people stealing aluminum siding from the sides of houses.

“It stopped for awhile, but in recent months I’ve seen more houses being stripped of their sidings,” he said.

In the meantime, new state requirements require scrap dealers to not only obtain identification of the person selling the scrap materials, but also a picture. Dealers also must record the date and time the item was purchased.

A complete description of the items being purchased must be documented. Records must be made available to law enforcement personnel.