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Klobuchar introduces bill to limit metal theft

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar introduced bipartisan legislation to crack down on the growing problem of metal theft. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) are co-sponsors of the bill.

Metal theft has jumped more than 80 percent in recent years, as thieves steal high-priced metal from critical infrastructure as well as businesses, homes, churches and even Minnesota veterans' graves.

The Metal Theft Prevention Act calls for enforcement by the attorney general and gives state attorneys general the ability to bring civil action to enforce the provisions of the legislation. It also directs the U.S. Sentencing Commission to review penalty guidelines as they relate to metal theft and make sure they are adequate. The bill also makes it an explicit federal crime to steal metal from critical infrastructure.

In addition, the legislation would make it harder for thieves to sell stolen metals to scrap metal dealers. It contains a "Do Not Buy" provision That bans scrap metal dealers from buying certain items unless the sellers establish, by written documentation, that they are authorized to sell the secondary metal in question.

As a result of the bill, scrap metal dealers would be required to keep detailed records of secondary metal purchases for two years and make them available to law enforcement agencies.

The bill would also require that purchases of scrap metal more than $100 be done by check instead of cash, to further help law enforcement track down thieves.