December 7, 2009
Mass. creates scrap metal registry
By Amanda Smith-Teutsch
A proposed law in Massachusetts is aimed at reducing metal
thefts by tightening regulations
on scrap metal recyclers.
The Massachusetts state senate has passed the new law creating a computerized scrap metal
registry aimed at reducing metals theft in the state.
The proposed law, S2191, was
passed by the senate in late November after being introduced to
the legislature earlier in the month.
The law requires licensed metal dealers to keep electronic or
paper archives for two years de-
tailing each metal transaction.
These archives must record the
signature of the metal seller, the
person’s name, address and date
of transaction, the seller’s place
of birth and a statement on how
and where the seller obtained the
metal. The business also will
need a photocopy of the seller’s
government photo ID or a photo
of the seller. If an item is worth
more than $250, the business will
have to photograph and record
the weight of the individual item
to be purchased. Vehicle Identification Numbers of cars sold for
scrap have to be recorded for two
years as well under the new law.
The information will have to be
sent to the new state registry
within 48 hours of the transaction,
and the items must be held for 10
days. Falsifying the state records
becomes a crime, and knowingly
accepting false information would
be a violation of the law as well.
Gary Bush, national liaison
with the law enforcement community for the Institute of Scrap
Recycling Industries, said that
while he couldn’t speak to the
Massachusetts law specifically,
record keeping is good business
for scrap metal dealers.
“The paper trail is critical for
solving these cases, making arrests and recovering property, as
long as [lawmakers] don’t go
overboard,” Bush said.
Bush said ISRI is seeing success combating metal theft with
its Scrap TheftAlert.com system
and also through newly formed
“The biggest thing we’ve found
that has had the most success is
these partnerships,” he said.
In one Florida county, he said,
a coalition was formed to organize local law enforcement, the
sheriff’s office and recyclers. In a
five-month time period, authorities made more than 80 arrests
in metals thefts cases and located 62 stolen cars. In Georgia, another coalition was able to drastically reduce their theft cases in
just a few months, he said.
The Scrap Theft Alert system
connects stakeholders in thefts,
such as telecommunication or
construction companies, with
scrap recyclers and law enforcement, Bush said. He pointed to a
recent success using the system
The Massachusetts state senate
has passed a new law creating a
computerized scrap metal registry
aimed at reducing metals theft in
in Brookfield, Conn. Two men
targeted a construction business
in that city and stole about 3,000
pounds of 8-inch stainless steel
pipe used to construct “terrorist
barricades” around the new Yankee Stadium in New York. The
material was worth about
$3,000. The theft was entered in
the theft alert system, and five
days later, the owner of a scrap
recycling business in Norwalk,
Conn., called police and said he
thought he had the stolen material in his business. The construction company was able to
identify the pipe. The suspects
were then arrested, and about
half of the stolen material was
recovered, Bush said.
The proposed Massachusetts
law also makes it a crime for
business owners to refuse police
officers or state agents access to
the premises to inspect materials, inventory or the records.
The law also bans recyclers
from accepting street signs,
manhole covers, beer kegs,
propane containers, street lights,
guard rails, water meter covers,
railroad tracks and spikes, funerary markers, stripped copper
wire and items bearing marks of
governments, utilities or brewers
unless the manufacturer sends
the items for recycling.
Fines for violating the laws begin at $2,500 and end at $10,000,
along with revocation of the
state metal dealer license and
The law passed the state senate unanimously Nov. 18 and
now goes to the House Ways and
Means Committee for review. ■
Contact Waste & Recycling News reporter Amanda Smith-Teutsch at 330-865-
6166 or email@example.com
Continued from Page S-1
in vehicles that were purchased
from dealers or salvage auctions,” the proposal says.
Disposal facilities also told
the federal government that
“the processing problems made
it difficult for facilities to effectively inventory and sell parts
from these vehicles,” the rule
After a 20-day comment period, the final rule is likely to be
issued by Feb. 1, the proposal
Dealers were allowed to file for
rebates under the $3 billion
cash-for-clunkers program between July 27 and Aug. 25.
In proposing an increase in the
disposal period, the Transportation Department rejected a request from disposal facilities to
double the interval to a year. The
federal agency expressed concern
that a yearlong disposal period
would heighten the risk of fraud.
While rules required dealers to
disable vehicles’ engines within
seven days of receipt of payment
for the transaction, “the risk of a
vehicle returning to the highway
is not fully eliminated until the
vehicle is crushed or shredded,”
the proposal says.
Under current rules, disposal
facilities also have seven days to
flag trade-ins in the National
Motor Vehicle Title Information
System as scrap vehicles.
The department also expressed concern that allowing
one-year disposal would create
an additional administrative
burden on the government to ensure compliance with the rules.
“The 90 additional days
strikes an appropriate balance,”
the proposal says. ■
Roland is a reporter for Crain Communications’ Automotive News.