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Jun-12-2009 22:08printcomments

House Passes Bill Combating Metal Theft

Metal theft has become a major threat to public safety, business and agriculture.

Metal theft
Driver of overloaded truck with stolen metal was actually apprehended by construction workers who reportedly caught him in the act. There is a link to the story below.

(SALEM, Ore.) - The Oregon House on Thursday unanimously passed legislation to combat metal theft, completing a three-year process and a bipartisan effort to stem the growth in metal theft. SB 570 imposes new fines and penalties on metal thieves and improves the ability of the state’s law enforcement community to monitor transactions.

State Rep. Brent Barton (D-Clackamas) and State Rep. Andy Olson (R-Albany) were the House participants in a bicameral work group that came up with the final agreement.

“Metal theft affects both rural and urban communities and fuels the meth epidemic in Oregon,” said Representative Brent Barton (D-Clackamas). “This bill is a necessary step in keeping our neighborhoods safe.”

“This legislation gives additional tools to law enforcement to combat metal theft, a crime that is costing businesses and taxpayers millions of dollars,” said Olson.

“SB 270 protects industries that have been hard hit by metal theft and focuses on accountability in the purchasing and recycling of materials.”

SB 570 contains several main components that will end the ease with which metal thieves are able to trade stolen products for cash, including:

* Clarifying the duties of scrap metal businesses to notify law enforcement if they believe that the metal property they purchased or received is stolen.

* Requiring scrap metal businesses to collect and retain for one year a ‘metal property record’ from individuals and companies that engage in the selling of metal products.

* Creating misdemeanor crime for unlawfully altering metal property, for example obliterating a serial number.

* Requiring that payment for scrap metal is given no sooner than three business days after sale and delivered by a mailed check to the seller’s street address. This important provision will prevent metal thieves from using stolen identities to document their sale.

“Metal theft has become a serious safety problem across Oregon as thieves become more and more reckless in the materials they go after,” said Nancy Nathanson (D-Eugene). “In recent years metal has been stripped from school bleachers, utility electric substations, and guardrails, posing a clear and present danger to communities.”

The theft of metal from homes, construction sites and public areas has negative affects on families, public safety, business and agriculture.

“Once again this legislation shows that our ability to work together in a bipartisan way results in good policy for Oregon,” said Speaker Dave Hunt (D-Clackamas County). “We will continue to monitor metal theft in our communities and are committed to continuing our efforts to make Oregon communities safer.”

The bill passed 60-0 now moves back to the Senate for concurrence.

Source: Oregon House of Representatives news release

The photo included with this report is from the story Truck 'Overload' of Stolen PGE Wire Leads to Arrest of Suspected Metal Thief - Tim King

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

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