MA lawmakers say we have a stolen scrap metal problem

22News outlines a proposal to limit the market for metal thieves

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Massachusetts legislature scrapped a bill to crack down on scrap metal thieves last year.  Now, House Majority Leader Ronald Mariano is sponsoring another bill that would require scrap dealers to co-operate more with police.

A heap of scrap metal may only give you some pocket change, but the change can add up  John Roper of Springfield has been collecting scrap metal for the last 40 years, “Few weeks ago when the price was up you could make a dollar, now you can maybe make 75 cents.”

Most legitimate scrap yards already ask for an ID, log major items that are being recycled and call police when they think items might be stolen.  Still, thieves are tempted by the opportunity to scrounge up some scrap for free. A new proposed law would require dealers to notify police, and tag and hold suspected stolen items for 48 hours.  They would face fines and other penalties if they don’t comply.

Bruce Robinovitz, owner of R&R Industries said, “I don’t know if it’s going to do anything more for those that are self regulated legitimate operators.  The guys who do this in the middle of the night. Not going to affect them at all.”

The bill also specifies items that are unacceptable for scrap dealers to receive without proper authorization Officer Mike Wilk, of the Chicopee Police Department said many companies already do that. “With the companies that we deal with if somebody does come in with a manhole cover they do make a phone call right away because that’s just not the type of thing you’re going to find in someones trash or on the side of the road. That’s something that’s usually taken,” Wilk said.

Metal was about 12 cents a pound last year 4 cents a pound this year.  So a manhole cover gets about $3.50 cents.

Copper is going for about $2 a pound right now.

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