Metro Council Hears Recommendations for Illegal Scrap Metal Problem

by Devin Katayama on March 15, 2012

The Louisville Metro Police Department has provided the Metro Council with a list of recommendations to help prevent the theft and resale of scrap metal, but the council will likely wait for the state to take action before making any decisions.

Schools, homes, even Metro Government buildings are all listed as victims of millions of dollars in scrap metal thefts, according to a presentation from LMPD on Thursday.

In a one-day review, deemed Operation Goldfinger, the department found only one-third of selected scrap dealers were in compliance with the law, said Major Donny Chambers.

Informal conversation s began last year between council members, police and various scrap metal deals. LMPD made their recommendations as the Kentucky Senate considers legislation, HB 390, that touches on many of issues brought up Thursday.

The recommendation provided to the council include electronic reporting, a 10-day holding period and payment by check only.

“A lot of folks who have a drug habit will go steal scrap metal, take it straight to the scrap yards, they’ll pay cash, they’re off to the drug dealer and we just can’t catch them that quick,” said Chambers.

Requiring sellers to pay by check will dissuade many who bring in scrap for a quick turnaround, he said.

“They’re not going to go out and do a whole lot of work at one time. They’re going to go out and get small amounts get in there, sell it, go get their drugs. And they’ll be back in there tomorrow,” said Chambers.

Other recommendations included requiring sellers to have proof of ownership to scrap vehicles. Of the thousands of vehicles stolen, around 42 percent are not recovered.

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