Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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May 4, 2013

Bill to reduce metal thefts is pushed

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — NIAGARA FALLS — Metal thieves may find themselves in front of a federal judge instead of local or state justices soon.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., stood Thursday with business owners, law enforcement officials and religious leaders in front of St. John de LaSalle Roman Catholic Church — which has been victimized three times by metal thieves — to announce that he will introduce legislation to crack down on the bandits and the scrap yards that profit off their booty.

“As a result of the metal theft crimes Niagara homes, businesses, infrastructure, even religious institutions like our churches, have suffered damages,” Schumer said. “The safety of everyone who lives in the homes and works in the businesses has been in danger.”

The Metal Theft Prevention Act includes provisions that would require documentation of the sellers’ right to scrap the metal, require scrap yards to keep records of the people who turn in the metal, limit scrap yards to a $100 cash return with any amount above that being paid by check and would make stealing metal from critical infrastructure a federal crime.

“I’m going to forge an ironclad partnership with federal and local law enforcement to put the metal thieves behind bars, once and for all,” Schumer said.

Schumer will introduce the bill with his cosponsor, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-MN, to the Senate Judiciary Committee this week.

Both Schumer and Klobuchar sit on that committee.

Schumer said the bill would not hurt honest scrap metal yards, but will target those that knowingly deal with thieves.

“Most of our metal scrap dealers here in Western New York are honest and honorable,” Schumer said. “But all you need is a few bad ones and the crooks know to bring it to them and they’ll give you cash, no questions asked.”

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