PITTSBURGH Tennessee will
have stricter penalties for selling stolen metals starting July
1 after state governor Bill Haslam signed legislation intended
to curb metals theft.
The new rules are designed to
hold buyers and sellers of stolen metals more accountable and
give the state more power to enforce its scrap dealer
"The scrap recycling industry in
Tennessee is working to be a part of the solution to material
theft," Sen. Jim Tracy (R., Shelbyville), the
legislations sponsor, said. "This partnership is very
important to really attack the problem. In the last two years,
18 state legislatures have passed bills to crack down on metal
theft and any unscrupulous dealers that might aid them."
The new rule will charge anyone
knowingly selling stolen scrap metal with theft, with penalties
varying based on the value of the metal and the costs incurred
in repair or recovery. Anyone caught selling stolen metal where
damages exceed $500 will be charged with a new Class E "fine
only" felony, punishable by a fine of up to $5,000.
Any recycler who knowingly buys
stolen metal, regardless of the value, will face a misdemeanor
charge and a $500 fine.
The new law also makes it a
misdemeanor for any recycler to operate without state
registration and authorizes the states commerce
department to investigate written complaints it receives about
a recycler. Any hearings or sanctions that result from such
investigations will be made public.