Legislation Proposed to Reduce Scrap Metal Theft

A measure to update scrap theft laws in New Jersey has recently been approved by the Senate Commerce Committee. According to the representative who penned the law, cash-strapped individuals stealing scrap metal has caused enormous damage to churches, homes and businesses in the state, costing thousands of dollars in damage. Currently, when those people sell scrap metal to recycling businesses, they can do so without leaving any information about themselves behind, allowing them to steal and sell the metal for quick cash.

If the legislation passes, scrap metal recyclers would be required to keep records for every transaction and then send copies of these records to law enforcement agencies. Additionally, every scrap metal delivery would need to be done in an automobile so that the automobile’s plates can be logged.

The law would also require that payment for scrap metal to be tendered via a non-transferable check mailed to the person or business selling the metal. Individuals could still be paid in cash for scrap metal, but they would have to have their photograph and thumbprint kept on file to do so. Supporters of the legislation believe that these changes to current law would help law enforcement track down thieves and ensure that recycling businesses are operating above board.

If an individual has been charged with theft, it may be useful to contact a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer. Theft crimes often require an extensive investigation and are fact-specific, and having an attorney look into the facts of the case may be helpful to possibly formulate a sound defense or mitigate some of the harsh penalties for individuals who may have sold scrap metal because of financial need.

Source: PolitickerNJ, “Norcross Measure to Combat Scrap Metal Theft Advances,” Alexis Degan, March 4, 2013

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