Flint officials testify to state committee about metal theft - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Flint officials testify to state senate committee about metal theft

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(12/03/13) - The state senate is considering three bills that would crack down on scrap metal thieves. Flint's mayor and emergency manager testified Tuesday in Lansing about the impact scrapping is having on the city.

"The devastating impact of scrap metal theft requires strong legislation to deter this activity and to protect the property owners," said Darnell Earley, Flint emergency manager.

Earley and Mayor Dayne Walling didn't mince words when they told the economic development committee how scrap metal theft is pulling down the Vehicle City.

"An auto dealership has been hit multiple times in the past two years and the company is losing over $10,000 per year in stolen or damaged property," Walling said.

"Over the past several years, scrap metal theft in the city of Flint and surrounding communities has reached epidemic proportions," Earley said.

"We've talked about the large loss to our businesses, homeowners, landlords and churches," Walling said.

One of the bills, which has passed the State House, was authored two years ago by Flint's Jim Ananich (D), now a state senator. The bill was originally introduced when Ananich was a representative. Now it must pass the Senate before it can go on to the governor's office.

Under Ananich's bill, junk yard operators would have to wait three days before they could pay someone dropping off some types of scrap metal.

"The three-day hold would be predominately on items that are stolen on a regular basis: catalytic converters, air conditioning units and copper wire," Ananich said.

Junk yard employees would have to photograph scrap metal items in case they are later determined to be stolen.

"It also prohibits manhole covers and things like that. It's amazing we have to pass a law that says you can't take manhole covers, but that's one of the things we have to do with the bill," Ananich said.

The tougher laws could get Gov. Snyder's approval before the end of the year.

"I'm very confident he will sign these bills," Ananich said.

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