Ortt and State Senate target scrap metal theft

Posted 16 June 2015 at 12:00 am

Press Release, State Sen. Robert Ortt

The New York State Senate late Monday night passed legislation sponsored by Sen. Rob Ortt (R-North Tonawanda) aimed at preventing scrap metal theft.

The bill (S.4882) prohibits the sale or purchase of certain items as scrap by creating a scrap processor registration system. Ortt says he believes the measures will help curtail copper theft.

“Scrap theft has been a growing issue in our community with criminals emboldened by the high cost of metal,” Ortt said. “What was once an occasional inconvenience has become a public hazard. We’ve seen historic sites, farms, churches, and factories stripped of scrap. We’re approaching dangerous territory when we see our railroads, street signs, and homes ransacked for metal. By establishing a scrap metal registration, we can remove illegal scrap dealers from the market. I’m hopeful my colleagues in the Assembly will take up this important measure without delay.”

Last month, Niagara Falls police charged a man for stealing scrap metal from an M&M Electric storage container. Several weeks ago, transit riders in New York City experienced massive delays when more than 500 feet of cable was stripped from subway tracks in Queens. And earlier this year, several thousand pounds of scrap copper wire, valued at $80,000, was stolen from Cambria Contracting. In the past, the historic Palace Theatre in Lockport and the former Summit Park Mall in Wheatfield have had copper theft.

The bill lays out specific requirements that a supplier must meet in order to qualify for a scrap processor registration while delineating the application process. It also lays out specifics related to scrap processing facilities, including the need for an electronic video recording system at all scales and at all points of sale locations. It prohibits the sale of certain items as scrap and establishes penalties for violations.

The bill has yet to be taken up by the State Assembly. Legislative session is expected to conclude this week.