Georgia's New Law on Metal Thefts - 1 Year Later - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Georgia's New Law on Metal Thefts - 1 Year Later

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Augusta, GA -

A new Georgia metal theft law went into effect more than a year ago. Now – Richmond County investigators say that law has made it harder for thieves to resell stolen metal.

On Wednesday, investigators met with 20 local recyclers about what they need to look out for.

The CSRA is the only area in Georgia to have its own metal theft task force.

Richmond County investigator Kendall Brown heads up that unit, and says so far it's paid off.

"We have been extremely successful. We have the best solving rate in the state," said Kendall Brown.

In July of 2012, a new Georgia law went into effect to curb metal theft.

"You know think steel, fence posts but there is brass, copper, AC units worth a lot of money," said recycler, Patrick Garland.

That law required recyclers to register with the local sheriff's office before selling anything. .

Recyclers have to show a proof of purchase, get a copy of the seller's ID and can't give out cash for all purchased metal.

"It hurts us because we buy property, and if it's stolen we have to return it and only get our money back if the person caught is prosecuted," said Garland.

"You might not think an automotive battery is something that serious. But to a truck driver who has $100,000 goods of produces, he can't deliver his goods because someone has stolen that from his rig," said Brown.

Brown says the new metal theft law has reduced the number of AC thefts.

But he says he says car thefts and battery thefts are up.

"Right now, the hot ticket items are automotive batteries, motor vehicle items are also being stolen from people's yards and sold for scrap," said Brown.

Investigators say to help identify stolen parts, spray paint your AC units and batteries some type of neon color.

The CSRA Metal Theft Task Force posts stolen items, suspect details, and new requirements to its Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/CSRAMTTF

Copper thefts continue to be a problem in the palmetto state despite tougher laws.

Investigators say metal thieves are still plaguing homeowners, churches, government agencies and utilities.  

Lawmakers are now considering tougher laws targeting the recycling of metal taken from air conditioners.

The current law requires sellers of copper to first get a permit from their local sheriff's office before taking metal to a scrap yard.

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