Copper thefts continue to be a big problem in Alabama but now there's a new law that hopes to crack down on metal theft.
For years, there has been a law on the books that requires anyone selling metal to scrap yards to show their license and have their car's tag number, make and model recorded before doing so. But that was meant for the business' records. This new law has another focus: metal thieves.
Beginning August 1, anyone selling copper coils must first present a professional license, such as a plumbing, HVAC or general contractor's license. Metal sellers must also be at least 18-years-old now.
"It's really good for everybody but the thieves, which is the intent of the law," Todd Bernstein of Standard Iron & Metal said.
Bernstein's family owns the Birmingham company and they worked with lawmakers to help craft the law. It also prohibits anyone from selling burned copper and from selling catalytic converters cutt off of cars unless they have documentation that the materials belong to them.
In the past if you cleaned out your basement and tried to sell any scrap metal, you were required to have an intinerant junk license. However, under this new law, that's not longer needed.
Bernstein says they've passed out and posted flyers to educate customers and even thieves about the new law.
"We know we can't eradicate it completely but we're doing the best we can to keep everybody, churches, schools, to keep thieves from doing all the stealing," Bernstein said.
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