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Arizona cracking down on stolen copper resales

PHOENIX — Arizona is cracking down on scrap-metal dealers who may be accepting stolen copper.

Gov. Jan Brewer has signed into a law a bill that requires the dealers to register with the Arizona Department of Public Safety. They are also required to keep a record and picture of all of the material they take in. Those who fail to register could face $1,000 fines.

In turn, police will set up a website where dealers can check to see if the materials have been reported stolen.

Valley commercial real estate developer Michael Pollack liked the plan. “What used to happen is that is you could just set up a big truck on the side of the road and call yourself ‘I’m buying scrap,’ ” said Pollack. “Who’s regulating that? Well, it wasn’t being regulated so good.”

He said copper thefts are costing Arizona residents and businesses a lot of money. “It’s a very serious matter,” Pollack said.

Pollack has been a victim of copper thefts himself. He said thefts at his construction sites have cost him over $400,000 since 2009.

He said honest dealers who don’t take the stolen copper have nothing to worry about with the new law.

“There’s exemptions in this for licensed contractors,” he said. “This is not to stop licensed contractors from doing business, or to stop scrap-metal dealers from doing business. This is meant to stop thieves, because this is what this is all about. Stopping thieves.”