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STL Police Hold Metal Theft Summit

Brian Kelly
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 ST. LOUIS (KMOX)- It’s a crime that’s occurred 3,485 times in the city of St. Louis over the last 15 months, costing victims over $4.6 million.

Thursday, St. Louis Police met with aldermen and scrap metal dealers to help write a new, tougher ordinance to fight the growing problem of copper and metal thefts.

The goal of the first “Copper Summit” is to write a tougher ordinance that will require scrap metal dealers to better document customers and help identify potential thieves.

The over half-dozen dealers at the meeting indicated their support for such efforts, which would include getting driver’s license numbers and getting photographs of the seller and the materials.

There was disagreement however over a police proposal to limit the amount of cash the buyers could pay out to individuals to $30.

Police Captain Dan Howard says since most thieves are drug addicts, the current $500 dollar cash limit is too high, “The criminals are bringing in $100 worth of copper, $100 worth of downspouts. They’re doing that two or three times a day, five times a week.” He says they’re getting that cash and immediately turning it into narcotics.

Southern Metal Processing President Dan Kweskin says the proposed 30 dollar cash limit would only drive thieves to sell to ‘alley dealers’, which would make it harder to track them, “Then the people they’re selling to for cash, are not going to be getting driver’s licenses and license plates.”

There will be more talks on the proposed ordinance.

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