Some desperate metal scrappers have stepped up their trade in these lean economic times as they steal much more than pieces of abandoned buildings. Currently, scrap sales in Pennsylvania under $100 do not have to be recorded.
State Rep.Tina Davis of Bucks County has heard a lot about the scrapping scourge:
“It became a safety issue … railroad ties have been taken up,” she said, adding that in one case, thieves were injured from electricity as they stole copper. So Davis introduced a bill to make the illegal scrapping trade more difficult and to try to stop businesses and homeowners from being ripped off. “My bill would require that every scrap metal transaction be recorded and that all sellers who go to a place to sell their scrap metal have to be paid by check,” said Davis. “It would eliminate all cash transactions and every single transaction will be recorded.””Our industry is not the criminal here,” objects Stephen Moss, co-owner of a scrap metals brokerage company in Bryn Mawr. “These laws tend to put the onus of law enforcement on the scrap recycler who does not have the resources to handle it.”Moss is also the president of the mid-Atlantic chapter of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries. He said paying by check is costly for scrap processors: “Yet there’s no real direct correlation that it combats materials theft,” he said. “We have found that the best success in reducing scrap theft has been when the police and law enforcement reach out to the scrap metal recycler and work together and create a plan to catch thieves.”Moss said cash-ban proposals are based on the idea that people who deal in cash are criminals or drug addicts. He pointed out that cash is legal tender for all sorts of transactions.