Thieves would have a tougher time trading in stolen metal for cash under a new bill introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
The legislation would make it a federal crime to steal metal piping from critical infrastructure, such as the nation's electricity grid. It would also keep scrap-metal recyclers from buying certain items unless the sellers provide documentation that they are authorized to sell.
Klobuchar said the increase in metal thefts from homes, construction sites, and businesses are prompting her and other members of Congress to take federal action.
"Minnesota has one of the toughest laws in the country, but it's not enough. Why?" Klobuchar said. "Well, these thieves are stealing the metal, and then they go sell it in another state that may not have a law at all, or they have a weaker law."
In St. Paul, thieves took copper pipe from an outdoor hockey rink last November. The metal was worth just a couple of hundred dollars, but city officials say fixing it would have cost $20,000. Two Twin Cities businesses, NAC Mechanical and Electrical Services and Mulcahy Company, Inc., donated labor and materials to cover the repairs.
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