Copper recyclers must now register with state
Recent incidents across West Virginia involving theft of copper and selling it to scrap metal recycling locations highlight the need for citizens to be aware of a new law that requires those dealers to register with the Secretary of State’s Office.
In one incident in Logan, police believe a man was electrocuted while he was trying to steal copper.
On the West Virginia Secretary of State’s website, scrap metal dealers with the capability to recycle copper can be found in a searchable database. The database lists the recycling center’s address, hours of operation and phone number. There is no fee for a recycling center to register with the office.
The database is the result of Senate Bill 528, passed by the Legislature in 2012. The law is designed to help police track down people who sell stolen material to recycling centers.
In addition to helping locate people who sell stolen copper, the new law also requires people who recycle more than five catalytic converters to have their fingerprints on file with the recycler, along with a copy of their ID.
Catalytic converters contain valuable precious metals like platinum, palladium, and rhodium.
“Theft of copper isn’t just illegal, it is extremely dangerous and often fatal,” said Secretary of State Natalie Tennant.
“If there is nowhere to sell the stolen material, it should cut down on these types of crimes.” she said. “By making this database available to the public and to police, we are helping to make it harder for someone to sell their stolen copper to recycling centers.”
Tennant said dozens of recycling centers are following the law and registering, showing they want to help eliminate a foolish crime that can result in power outages for thousands of people or death for the ones who try to commit it.
Authorities across the Mountain State encourage the public to report copper theft to police agencies.