New laws to curb metal thefts - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

New laws to curb metal thefts

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COLUMBIANA, Ohio - According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, Ohio leads the nation in metal theft crimes.

Workers at Columbiana's city garage and impound lot noticed they were missing some of their electrical materials such as spools of aluminum and copper wires.

After setting up some security cameras, they found someone was stealing it piece by piece and throwing it over the fence.

"They were basically getting distribution line which is electric wire you see on poles around the city most of it is aluminum some was copper and they were taking it and selling it for scrap," Police Chief Tim Gladis said.
Gladis said Matt Stouffer, 26, was caught on camera. He'll be charged with criminal trespass and felony theft. Gladis said he stole about $25,000 worth of material and he probably only got pennies on the dollar for it. The same man was in court back in 2008 for stealing a 400 pound bronze statue from the local library and trying to sell it for scrap.

Authorities all over Ohio say theft of scrap metal is a huge problem.

"It's an easy way to take something that doesn't belong to you and covert it to cash. Many of the people that do this are drug users and they do it to support a drug habit," Gladis said.

But now there are new laws in Ohio that are aimed to stop scrap metal theft.

"There are new laws that came into effect on January first that require a lot more documentation from someone selling scrap," Gladis said. "There are also certain things scrap yards can't even possess like manhole covers and street signs things that are clearly municipal property."

Scrap dealers are also required to get photo ID's and license plate numbers from people selling scrap metals and the dealers are required to keep those records.

Starting next year, all scrap dealers will be required to report all transactions to the Ohio Department of Public Safety.

Those transactions must include the seller's picture and the weight of the materials sold to the dealer.



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