Demonstrating once again that rural and urban interests in Missouri often coincide, the Daily Dunklin Democrat reported over the weekend that a group of outstate legislators and law enforcement officials had recently gathered to celebrate the implementation of a new statute that gives police officers and prosecutors — in the City of St. Louis and in places like Pemiscot County more weapons in the war against metal thieves.
People who steal and salvage copper and other metals don’t just operate in Missouri’s cities. The problem caught the attention of state lawmakers when farmers and rural utility companies complained that the thieves were swiping wiring and piping from isolated areas, creating a great deal of inconvenience and threatening public safety.
According to the new law, scrap metal purchasers statewide must keep useful records — including a photo ID of the seller — whenever they buy copper, brass, bronze, and certain aluminum, iron, and steel items. In addition, metal recyclers are generally prohibited from buying metal that is marked with the name or logo of “a cemetery, political subdivision, electrical cooperative, or utility.” And the new law makes some metal thefts felonies.
This is a good example of ganging up on our common problems. We need to do much more of that.