Scrap Yards Propose Alternative Crackdown on Metal Theft

Apr 25, 2012

The scrap metal industry in Lexington is asking the Urban County Council to scrap its plan to license the sellers of copper or other metals.  The new regulations are suggested as a way to cut down on copper and other metal thefts.  Ken Cowen’s Ohio firm owns Lexington’s Baker Iron and metal.   To combat theft, Cowen says scrap metal firms are willing to employ off duty police officers.  Then, Cowen says, they could check the seller’s I-D.

“And that I-D will be run through a no buy determine the integrity of the person doing the sale…and then there are certain items that require special scrutiny… and it will be the responsibility of the police officer there to question the person to make sure that the material is of proper origin,” said Cowen.

The current proposal before council calls upon scrap metal recycling businesses to hold purchased metals for three days while police investigate.

Council member Kevin Stinnett, who’s behind the original crackdown, says the industry’s proposal needs further review.

“Well there’s a lot of hurdles you need to jump through before you make that decision…and obviously we’ll consult with our police chief and law department..and you know staffing is an issue..can they do it on the job off the job..there’s a lot of issues before that can ever happen.. bottom line it has the same affect as whether you have a permit or a police officer there…you’ll still prevent people from  coming there who shouldn’t be coming there selling it in the first place,” said Stinnett.

The issue is expected to come up for a final vote Thursday evening.  This session, the state legislature prohibited cash payments at scrap yards.