FULL OF SCRAP Scrap dealers make easy targets, especially in the dark

Oct 01, 2007 | 02:05 PM |

Beware of the new bogeyman—your local scrap metal dealer. "Barely a day goes by without news of an audacious burglary pulled off by thieves intending to mine scrap metal from purloined items," the Kansas City Star said in an editorial in mid-August. The newspaper then proceeded to enumerate the Midwest city's latest victims the Kansas City Firefighters Memorial Fountain, copper tubing stolen from refrigerators at the City Union Mission warehouse and bleacher seats from a local middle school.

Theft is difficult to prevent and prosecute, the newspaper said, but scrap metal companies can help limit the damage. Kansas passed legislation requiring dealers to log the names and addresses of customers selling scrap metal worth $50 or more, and sellers must produce a photo ID. These are reasonable steps, the newspaper said, and that's true enough.

Michael MarleyDealers are following the new rules—and doing even more to try to stem the thievery. For instance, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, the Washington-based trade organization, has established an e-mail hotline that quickly alerts dealers and processors in neighboring states to watch for stolen materials.....

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