orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

December 22, 2011

Copper theft must be stopped

The Orange Leader
The Orange Leader

ORANGE — It’s a growing epidemic and there’s a police report filed nearly everyday— copper theft.

Law enforcment agencies are well aware of the problem, but more must be done when homes and businesses are being gutted so someone can sell their stolen goods to possibly support their drug habit.

The money is obtained by selling to the several salvage yards in the county.

By law, the salvage yards are required to keep records of transactions and the seller must show a legal driver’s license but there’s still no way to prove where they got the copper.

Pursuant to Chapter 1956 of the Texas Occupations Code, the Department of Public Safety is responsible for registering all metal recycling entities operating in the State of Texas, according to their website.

Registered entities (salvage yards) are required to collect certain identifying information from sellers of recycled material in order to aide law enforcement in tracking entities and individuals who are buying and/or selling stolen material. The information collected in the Metals Registration database contains a record of all reported metals transactions throughout the state.

The Department has the authority to deny applications for certificates of registration to entities that do not meet the criteria set forth by the Department. The Department also has the authority to reprimand registrants and suspend or revoke certificates of registration for the reasons set forth in section 1956.151 of the Act and for failure to comply with rules set forth by the Department.

Metal recycling entities are required to apply for a certificate of registration by filling out an online application and paying a $500 registration fee. A certificate of registration is valid for two years and must be renewed on or before the expiration date if the registrant intends to continue operating as a metal recycling entity in the State of Texas.

This is one area that can be reformed.

Another area is reviving neighborhood watch programs and maybe law enforcement creating special taks forces dedicated to eradicating copper theft.

Whatever is the answer, more must be done.