New Law Aims To Stop Copper Thefts

By: Brittany Gunter/ April Davis
By: Brittany Gunter/ April Davis

Thieves stealing copper from construction sites, homes, even churches has been an ongoing problem in eastern Carolina. Scrap metal recycling centers give quick cash for the copper, but starting Monday, a new law goes into effect aiming to stop the flow of cash to copper thieves.

The law says recyclers have to pay people with checks, not cash. The goal is try and keep a paper trail of what's going on. Owner of Joco Inc. Robert Joyner says he's had copper stolen many times from his construction site. He says he had $25,000 worth of copper stolen in one incident. He thinks this law is another weapon for law enforcement, but Beth Glisson-Baker has a different opinion. She owns a scrap metal recycling center in Pitt County.

"I think until the economy as a whole improves we are not going to see that this law changes anything. As far as copper theft, your thieves, for the most part, will remain thieves. They will just find other avenues to sell the materials," said Glisson-Baker.

Glisson-Baker's business currently keeps copies of photo ID's for anyone that sells to them. Under the new law recyclers are also required to take photographs of sellers with the metals that they are selling and record additional information about it.

Glisson-Baker says she has concerns that check fraud and check altering may occur.

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