Detroit's latest effort to halt metal thefts could crush the 'little guy'

Nov 03, 2006 | 08:08 AM | Paul Schaffer

The difference between "junk dealers" and "scrap iron and metal processors" was written into Detroit's ordinances many years ago.

Now the city's lawyers have drafted a legal definition distinguishing "industrial scrap" from peddler material as part of two new ordinances that seek to curtail metal theft.

The latest proposal for revising the scrap iron ordinance comes much closer to how processing yards already operate than the version circulated in late September (AMM, Oct. 2).

But for peddlers driving around looking for scrap, the changes could be wrenching unless they decide to stay under the radar. "It's the little guys who are going to get hurt, out there in their pickup trucks trying to supplement their income," a yard owner said.

"The people who go out on trash day and pick up washers and dryers in their personal vehicles, they're not going to get a surety bond or get Department of Transportation approval," the processing executive cautioned. "Possibly they should have to, but they're not going to."....

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