Vt. has new law to fight scrap metal thefts
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | August 18,2012
ROCKINGHAM — Police in Vermont are hoping a new law will help them track scrap metal thefts.
The law requires scrap-metal processors to record detailed information about sellers, including a name, address, date of birth, license plate number and description of the items received. The seller also must request documentation that establishes that the seller lawfully owns the items to be sold.
If those conditions aren’t met, the processor must report the transaction to police and hold the items for at least 10 days.
“This is not going to be a magic bullet, but it certainly should help,” said Lt. Rick Hopkins of the State Police Rockingham barracks.
Supporters hope the new law will slow down or deter thieves from stealing scrap metal and precious metals such as gold and silver.
“These burglars found a way to make a quick buck,” said Trooper Benjamin Katz, who helped develop the law.
The law is needed because of the growing metal-theft problem in Vermont, he said.
State Rep. Richard Marek, a Newfane Democrat who was one of the bill’s co-sponsors, told the Brattleboro Reformer that he has heard numerous stories of thieves cutting gas and water lines and making off with valuable copper.
“It’s become a major problem around the state for both residents and businesses,” Marek said. “This can be absolutely devastating.”
For example, copper plumbing was removed from the basement of a road in Grafton, state police said on Aug. 2. In other cases, a 100-pound propane tank was stolen in Townshend between the middle of July and Aug. 2; thieves made off with copper pipe from public rest rooms at Bellows Falls Union High School’s Hadley Field on July 26 or July 27, and a 400-pound section of gate was stolen from Burgess Cemetery in Grafton, the Sheriff’s Department reported in early June.