Stop Scrap Metal Theft

Help Keep Our Communities Safe from Thieves and Illegal Scrapping

Stop Scrap Metal Theft Photo GalleryFor more than two years, I have been working with my colleagues, state and local police, and people from the scrap metal industry to create reasonable regulations to block the market for stolen scrap metal. Scrap metal theft has torn our neighborhoods apart. Scrap metal thieves have targeted churches, schools, businesses and even cemeteries. They have even been known to dismantle telephone poles to get at the transformers, to steal sewer grates which create a dangerous driving hazard, and they have raided our community playgrounds to steal metal and leave our children without a place to safely play.

By tightening our current law, we can help eliminate the market for stolen scrap metal. In April of 2013, I joined with my colleagues to introduce a bipartisan package of scrap metal reform bills House Bills 4593-95.  These bills, including House Bill 4594, which I have sponsored, will help eliminate the market for scrap metal theft.   

Michigan ranks in the top ten in the country for insurance claims based on scrap metal theft. Currently, scrap metal thieves can turn metal used in plumbing, stairway rails, utility wires, manhole covers, guardrails and even transformer coils into a quick payday. The police are prevented from helping or interfering unless the owner of the property makes a complaint. Scrap metal thieves cost property owners money caused by the damage they do to get at the metal. They also create dangerous situations for neighbors and even motorists as these thieves have been known to steal sewer grates from our roadways. When scrap metal thieves attack an abandoned house or property for its pipes or plumbing and the water is left running, millions of gallons of drinking water is lost, which can be a costly situation for both the utility and consumers.

House Bill 4594 amends the Nonferrous Metal Regulatory Act to apply to both nonferrous and ferrous metals. The bill will require the filing of a detailed reporting form with each purchase, including the name of the employee weighing the scrap metal, the description of the materials, a photograph of the material and delayed payment to a street address. The bill will ban the practice of selling scrap and be paying immediately in cash.

The other bills in the Scrap Metal Regulatory Package Act would also prohibit the selling or buying of public fixtures, construction equipment and tools, materials that are clearly marked as belonging to a business, catalytic converters unless from an automotive recycler, AC units, burnt copper wire, cemetery-related articles and any items that the buyer knows is stolen property. It also requires that all employees have access to scrap theft alerts as well as requiring all scale operators, purchasers or supervisors at scrap metal dealerships to receive training on how to identify and prevent the purchase of banned materials. Each scrap metal dealership will also for the first time be required to obtain a state license to operate. This package also makes it a crime to steal scrap metal and includes penalties that increase with the value of the scrap metal stolen and the number of violations that a scrap metal thief commits.

Click here to view my Stop Metal Theft photo gallery.


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Select Rashida H. Tlaib as your Representative

I’m State Representative Rashida H. Tlaib, and I serve Michigan’s 6th House District.

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Rashida H. Tlaib

State Representative Rashida H. Tlaib

6th House District

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