Anti-scrapping bills about to become law in Michigan - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Anti-scrapping bills about to become law in Michigan

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FLINT (WJRT) -

(03/21/14) - Mid-Michigan police departments will soon have a new weapon to fight illegal scrapping.

Gov. Snyder is expected sign a package of bills that will make it tougher to sell stolen scrap metals. The state senate has approved the bills that create delays in the time an illegal scrapper gets paid.

The delays could give police officers more time to catch the bad guy.

"I think it's going to be good for everybody and I think everybody recognizes what good this is going to do for the community. At the end of the day, if you're going to get scrap and you get it the right way, you still can go out and you're still going to make your money, but you just have to do it the right way," said James Tolbert, Flint police chief.

Illegal scrapping is a huge business in Mid-Michigan. Entire neighborhoods have been ruined by scrappers stealing aluminum siding. Rental units are torn apart by thieves looking for copper and other valuable metals.

The bills say scrap metal dealers can only pay for items worth $25 or more through checks that have to be mailed. That can add three days for the scrapper to receive a payment.  

It also eliminates cash payments. Scrap metal yards are required to hold items for seven days and they need to take pictures of the sellers and the material being sold.

"I think it helps the scrap yards make sure that the good operators, the good people can get through quickly and the folks that maybe are committing a crime, it's going to deter them from doing it," said St. Sen. James Ananich, D-Flint, who sponsored one of the bills.

"When we have a particular item we're looking for, we can go and check pictures obviously and say, 'This is it' or take a picture and say, 'Is this it' to the victim. It's just a lot of little advances for us as we investigate cases," Tolbert said.

Chief Tolbert says the Flint Police Department has some new technology coming that will make life even more difficult for illegal scrapper, but he wouldn't elaborate.

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