Rutledge Launches Metal Theft Prevention Program
July 9, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced at a press conference at the State Capitol a new initiative from the Attorney General’s Special Investigations Division to combat the problem of metal theft. Rutledge was joined at the Capitol by Arkansas Farm Bureau President Randy Veach and AT&T Arkansas Director of External Affairs Ronald Dedman.
“For far too long, too many scrapyards have not been following the law and thus, allowing criminals to get away with metal theft,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “As Attorney General, I am launching a coordinated statewide effort to train local law enforcement to target metal theft, and instructing agents of the Special Investigations Division at the Attorney General’s Office to begin controlled sales and inspections of scrapyards to ensure non-precious metal is properly registered. These crimes have gone on far too long, and are harming Arkansas businesses, farms, schools, homes and churches. Enough is enough, and today, we begin a process of bringing an end to these crimes.”
Metal Theft Prevention Program Background
- In 2009, Arkansas became the second State in the country to pass a State law to automate the investigations process for metal theft crimes, requiring all scrap metal recyclers to report transactions electronically.
- Arkansas Act 1354 of 2013 requires scrap metal recyclers to receive a license issued by their local sheriff.
- It also creates a compliance report that allows law enforcement to easily check to see if scrap metal recyclers are reporting all information required by State law.
- Those not reporting properly are subject to a civil penalty of $1,000 per violation.
- According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, Arkansas was ranked #5 in insurance claims for metal theft with more than 600 claims from 2010-2012.
- After processing a query of the available National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) data submitted by participating law enforcement agencies in Arkansas for 2014, 602 incidents returned with stolen metals (non-precious).
- As part of the NIBRS reporting structure, metals (non-precious) are defined as the following: base metals or alloys possessing luster, malleability, ductility, and conductivity of electricity and heat, as well as ferrous and non-ferrous metals such as iron, steel, tin, aluminum, copper, brass, copper wire, copper pipe, etc.
- Arkansas has existing laws, but because of limited resources, these laws are not being consistently enforced.
- To combat this growing, costly problem, Attorney General Rutledge is launching a coordinated statewide Metal Theft Prevention Program.
- Farmers are one of the largest targeted groups. Thieves are repeatedly taking wire off agricultural pivot irrigation systems and may net a few hundred bucks from this felonious sale. But it costs our farmers at least $10,000 to repair, in addition to delaying their crop schedule.
- Sworn officers in the Special Investigations Division at the Attorney General’s Office will conduct trainings with local law enforcement to use a free online service, LeadsOnline, to target metal theft.
- The weeklong trainings in late July will be held in Jonesboro, Fort Smith, Texarkana, Mountain Home, El Dorado, Monticello, Fayetteville, West Memphis and Little Rock.
- In August, these agents will begin controlled sales and inspections of scrapyards to ensure that non-precious metal is properly registered and scrapyards are in compliance with the law.
- If there is proof that a scrapyard not following the law, these agents have the authority to issue warnings or citations, which are up to $1,000 for each offense.