Farmers and sheriffs push for local metal-theft ordinances
» July 11, 2007 «
With thefts of copper wire and other metals plaguing farms, businesses and utilities, farm and law-enforcement organizations today urged California counties and cities to enact local ordinances to attack the problem.
The California Farm Bureau Federation and the California State Sheriffs' Association offered a model ordinance aimed at deterring metal theft, by toughening record-keeping and payment requirements for scrap-metal dealers and recyclers.
Provisions of the model ordinance mirror many of those contained in Assembly Bill 844, a statewide metal-theft bill that stalled in the state Legislature.
"Metal thefts can constitute an emergency on farms and ranches. When thieves vandalize an irrigation pump to steal the copper wire, a farmer can find himself unable to water his crops when they need it most," California Farm Bureau President Doug Mosebar said. "We preferred the statewide solution contained in AB 844, but we can't afford to wait. Every county or city containing a scrap-metal dealer should enact these crucial reforms."
The model ordinance requires recyclers to pay by check for metals after a 15-day holding period, and to obtain a fingerprint and copy of a government-issued identification from anyone selling scrap metal.
"We know many of the people stealing metal want to turn it into quick cash so they can buy drugs," said Steve Szalay, executive director of the sheriffs' association. "The model ordinance directly addresses that issue without discouraging lawful sellers of scrap metals."
The California Farm Bureau Federation, the state's largest farm organization, works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 92,000 members. The California State Sheriffs' Association, a nonprofit professional association, enables the state's 58 sheriffs to improve delivery of law-enforcement services to California citizens.
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