New law aims to crack down on scrap metal thieves

by: Peter Daut Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Starting Oct. 1, scrap metal thieves may have a much tougher time escaping the law.

New legislation, signed by Gov. Bev Perdue in June, is expected to make it easier for police to track stolen property.

At E-Metals in south Charlotte, owner Jake Agnew has spent weeks and thousands of dollars preparing.  New cameras are up and new filing cabinets are out -- all to keep as much information on clients as possible.

"Everybody's got to do it. So if you want to recycle, this is going to be part of the game," Agnew said.

Metal dealers across North Carolina will soon be required to document and photograph all transactions.  The new law is intended to slow down or stop metal thefts, which have become a major problem.

Along with detailed records, the new law requires scrap yards to get the make, model, color and license plate number of the seller's vehicle; bans paying cash for copper; and bans people from selling copper more than once a day.

"That's a big deal. For the recycler, for the people coming in, that's a big change," Agnew said.

Agnew hopes the paper trail will help authorities track down thieves, but also worries it could hurt business with honest customers.

"It just depends on how people deal with it," he said.

If metal dealers are caught breaking the new law, they could be charged with a Class Two Misdemeanor, and have their broker licenses suspended.

For more information on the law, click here.