Carol Marra and Secretary Tennant discuss Senate Bill 528, which
requires metal recyclers like Northern Mountain State Metals in Fairmont
to register with the Secretary of State's Office and keep detailed
information in an effort to curb copper theft in West Virginia.
Fairmont, W.Va. – Among piles of rusting metal waiting to be recycled, Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant and Carol Marra knew that they were going to be teaming with police around West Virginia to prevent a crime that sometimes kills its perpetrators.
Marra is the manager at Northern Mountain State Metals in Fairmont, one of the largest recycling centers in West Virginia.
Senate Bill 528, which takes effect June 7, will require recyclers like Marra and the Secretary of State’s Office to take steps to prevent crimes like copper theft. Recyclers will have to file a special registration with the Secretary of State’s Office, and that information must be made available to the public. Recyclers will also have to take additional steps to make it easier for police to track down who brought in stolen material to the recycling center.
“If someone who has stolen copper from a mine site or electric transmission lines has nowhere to exchange their stolen goods for money, it should cut down on this type of crime,” Secretary Tennant said. “This is something state government, law enforcement, and recyclers can work together on. This is one time when we really do have the chance to save lives because stealing copper is often very dangerous.”
“We just want to do everything we can to deter the theft, and we want this kind of theft to stop just as much as law enforcement does,” Marra said.
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.
The registration form recyclers must file will be available from the Secretary of State’s Office by June 1. There is no additional fee for a recycling center to file this registration.