Conn. police urged to crack down on metal thefts

October 14, 2008 4:35:32 PM PDT
State police chiefs are being urged to use a new state law as a magnet to catch unscrupulous scrap metal dealers, and the thieves who supply them. Under the law, which went into effect on Oct. 1, dealers must record detailed information about any load of metal they receive, including the identification of the person selling the material and a photograph of the vehicle delivering the load.

The Connecticut Police Chiefs Association is sending a copy of the legislation to departments across the state.

"There's a mess out there due to the high price of the metals. There's an flourishing underground economy," said West Hartford Police Chief James J. Strillacci, co-chairman of the CPCA's legislative committee.

Strillacci said a family was recently awoken at 2 a.m. by a thief yanking off copper downspouts from their home. Police found the man's car parked a block away, the back seat filled with gutters.

"These crooks are brazen," he said. "They're stealing things that are pretty obviously hot."

The law also requires scrap metal dealers to notify police if someone tries to sell them a historical artifact, such as a cannon ball or a lamp from a municipal park. It also prevents dealers from buying stainless steel or aluminum alloy beer kegs or other beverage kegs if they are marked by the owner.

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