Congressional Legislation to Crack-Down on Sales of Stolen Metal

May 2, 2013 Updated May 2, 2013 at 8:31 PM EDT

By Ed Reilly

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May 2, 2013 Updated May 2, 2013 at 8:31 PM EDT

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WKBW) The theft of metal, especially copper, has become a nationwide problem because scrap metal prices have increased over the past few years.

In Western New York, metal thieves have made off with thousands of dollars worth of metal that was stolen from homes, businesses, and even churches.

To combat the rise in metal theft, New York Senator Charles Schumer is co-sponsoring legislation in Congress that gives law enforcement more tools to track down metal thieves.

Under the proposed Metal Theft Prevention Act of 2013, sellers of scrap metal will have to provide documentation showing that they own the metal, or are authorized to sell it.

Metal recyclers will be required to keep detailed records for purchases of metal.

Cash payout from recyclers will be limited to $100, with amounts over that limit being paid by check.

And theft of metal from critical infrastructure (man-hole covers, street signs, etc.), will become a federal offense.