Sunday, April 15, 2012

Tribune: Metal thefts putting homeowners on edge

Consider this a follow-up of sorts from that press release courtesy of Ald. Roderick Sawyer's office from earlier this week:
Gregory Edwards knows the four video cameras monitoring his South Side home are no guarantee it won't be targeted yet again by thieves trying to steal copper or aluminum to trade for quick money at scrap yards.

"No matter what, I'm never comfortable," said Edwards, 31, who installed the cameras after his home in West Chesterfield was vandalized twice in the last year by people trying to get metal to trade for cash. "I'm not paranoid or anything, but it's just best to be prepared (instead of) upset."

Thefts of valuable metal — from gutters and downspouts to cemetery plaques and catalytic converters — have long plagued city neighborhoods and suburbs. State legislators passed a law nearly five years ago tightening regulations on scrap dealers. But high metal prices and the sputtering economy have continued to motivate criminals trying to turn someone else's property into their profit.

Now, state lawmakers are trying to toughen the law again to force scrap dealers to keep better records and to make it more difficult for people to sell stolen goods.
Current state law requires scrap dealers to record details of purchases worth $100 or more, including making a copy of the seller's government-issued identification card and recording the make, model and license plate number of the car the seller was driving.

A bill that passed the House last month and is now in the Senate would require those steps for all sales at scrap yards, regardless of price. It also would require that dealers pay by check instead of cash for some of the most popular items, including some air conditioner parts worth more than $100.

Dealers also would have to keep the sales records for three years instead of two, in case police need to review them.

Under the new bill, people caught trying to sell stolen metal could also be forced to pay for the damages caused by the theft.

"There are people who are afraid to put a for-sale sign or a for-rent sign in front of their house," said Rep. Mike Unes, R-East Peoria, one of the chief sponsors of the bill. "This (bill) is for them."
Finally another quote from another West Chesterfield resident:
But Charles Patton, 59, whose gate was stolen last month from his home in West Chesterfield, welcomed the proposed regulations, which he hoped would prevent future thefts.

"It wasn't nothing fabulous," Patton said of his gate. "It was just a regular chain-link fence, but it belonged to me."
Everyone is out to make a quick easy buck any way that can! Let's hope anything we can do to cut this activity down.


  1. I think the proposed legislation is a good idea.

    One of the other problems is that the Larger scrap/junk buyers have CPD on staff as security. And the Cops only get paid their obscene 20-30 bucks per hour if the dealer is making money buying from everyone regardless of where the junk comes from.

  2. Aw, that's a revelation. Again, CPD a part of the problem. I agree, the proposed legislation is a great idea.


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