(TRENTON) – Assemblyman Angel Fuentes (D-Camden/Gloucester) introduced legislation to strengthen regulations at scrap metal businesses throughout the state in an effort to stem scrap metal theft. Current law requires scrap metal businesses to maintain, for at least five years, records only on transactions in excess of one hundred pounds or $50. Bill A-3222 would require scrap metal businesses to maintain records on every transaction, and send all copies of records maintained to the appropriate law enforcement agency at the close of each business day.
“I authored this legislation due to an ongoing problem in Camden that is nonetheless a problem throughout the state,” said Assemblyman Fuentes. “Our cities, already stretched thin financially due to the country’s dire economic circumstances, are often victims to vandals looking for their next dollar. Damage to public infrastructure often cannot be readily or cheaply fixed.
“Unfortunately, this problem also affects our private residents in both urban and suburban settings, whose property is at risk as well. This is an issue that cannot be ignored any longer.”
As metal prices climb, thieves have been known to remove copper wiring from street lamps, and strip abandoned properties or foreclosed homes of any available metal. Even cemeteries have been affected, with thieves targeting bronze and aluminum flag holders that decorate graves of deceased veterans. Scrap metal dealers could be charged with possession of stolen property for purchasing such materials.
Scrap metal businesses will be required to limit payment for materials received to a non-transferable check, mailed to the seller’s provided address. All deliveries of scrap metal must be made in a motor vehicle, and that vehicle’s license plate must be included in the sales records.
“If we don’t solve this problem at the state level, scrap metal thieves will take their business to locations that deal in cash and don’t require identification,” Assemblyman Fuentes added. “This way, if you want to do business in the State of New Jersey, you had better be legitimate.”
Several members of the Assembly have already signed on as co-sponsors, including Assemblyman Gilbert “Whip” Wilson (D-Camden/Gloucester), Assemblywoman Celeste Riley (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem), and Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter and Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly (both D-Bergen/Passaic).