Copper Theft Law Loopholes Closing

By: Whitney Ray Email
By: Whitney Ray Email

Tallahassee, FL -- May 30, 2012 --

As the price of precious metals continues to rise so do the number of people willing to risk it all to steal copper. In Florida several people have been electrocuted trying to steal copper wire from power-lines. Others have been thrown in prison.

“It’s amazing. We’ve had copper stolen off of our radio towers in Hillsborough County. We had one night were two schools were hit,” said Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Colonel Jim Previtera.

"This was a movie theater (Miracle Five in Tallahassee) but I had to close down after thieves stole all the copper out of the air conditioner and the owners couldn’t afford to replace it."

State law requires metal recyclers to record the name and address of everyone selling copper. They share the information with police. But loopholes in the law allow sellers to easily use fake IDs. And when buyers pay cash, it’s harder to track the seller.

The governor singed a bill to close the loopholes in April. On Wednesday, he invited law enforcement officers to the capitol to celebrate the changes.

“The Secondary metals bill provides some real significant tools toward holding folks accountable,” said Walton County Sheriff Mike Atkinson.

The bill bans a buyer from paying cash. They, also, have to take pictures of the items they’re buying and fingerprint the seller. And starting in July buying or selling copper will be banned before 7AM and after 6PM on weekdays.

The bill, also, cracks down on metal buyers at flea markets and those who work out of their trucks. Now, they too must follow state regulations and report their customers to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

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  • by huh on May 31, 2012 at 10:32 AM
    Didn't miracle five in Tallahassee close because it couldn't make good business and the headquarters said enough and now whole foods will be moving in. Good fact checking
  • by Owner of scrap metal co. on May 31, 2012 at 06:57 AM
    OK, looks like WCTV rejected another one of my comments so let me try this again. More scrap regulations only diverts the theft it does not deter it. The procedures described in the article were already put in place in 2008. (BTW, we're only allowed to write checks for certain items.) Not following these regulations results in jail time; not a fine. Everyone points fingers at the scrap yards saying we're to blame; actually no, the criminal is to blame. Our country, our government, has turned to making criminals out the honest hard working small business people and victims out the criminals. If you want theft to slow down get these habitual thieves off the streets, if you want it to stop maybe we should focus more on what drives the thefts which is drugs. I guess if there was more money to be made by the SO or PD in drug busts we would see more busts than we do now.
  • by Flresident on May 30, 2012 at 09:32 PM
    It's about time they do something about all the rising thefts going on around town! This won't stop them from stealing to make their money. It's up to us to not make ourselves targets.
  • by dog Location: gone on May 30, 2012 at 04:38 PM
    This Law should be for ALL Scrap Metal being Sold. These Criminals will Steal anything even Farm Equip. for SCRAP.
  • by NOMNOM on May 30, 2012 at 02:47 PM
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