Scrap Metal Theft – a growing nuisance and danger across the nation.
Metal theft is an increasing hardship for government and state authorities, local businesses and recycling companies. The increase in demand has driven prices to a point that invites crime.
Nonferrous metals such as copper, brass, and aluminum do not contain significant quantities of steel or iron, which makes them more valuable metals and therefore more commonly stolen.
In response, the scrap recycling industry has joined forces with government and local authorities and developed several initiatives to combat metal thefts. One result has been the "Nonferrous Metal Regulatory Act" that helps state and local authorities along with metal recyclers in the prevention of metal thefts.
To prevent nonferrous theft, the law requires metal recyclers to collect information such as identification cards, thumbprints, and license plate numbers. Recyclers are also responsible for looking at the material more cautiously before purchasing.
Recycling companies such as Sims Brothers exercise caution by obtaining receipts and/or written documentation of the origin of the material and also by having a good knowledge of metals and how they are used. If the metal buyer feels the material is questionable, they can tag and hold the material for a minimum of 7 days. This gives victims and law enforcement an opportunity to search for the stolen property. Another section of the law states that the metal recycler should participate with an online database that tracks and lists thefts of nonferrous metal.
Our trade association, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, ISRI, has developed an online theft reporting system available to law enforcement and recyclers (www.ScrapTheftAlert.com). It allows law enforcement to send out prompt alerts to recyclers in a 100-mile radius from where the theft occurred. The alerts contain vital information such as location, descriptions of the material stolen, and information on individuals and/or vehicles that may have been involved in the theft.
Sims Brothers fully supports the laws and the efforts to curb metal theft.