The Ohio Legislature is closing in on approving new laws to curb the growing number of scrap metal thefts across the state. The House and Senate recently approved their own versions of a tougher law to keep stolen scrap metal ripped from vacant homes and other sources from being paid for by scrap metal businesses.
Jeff Bauer, General Manager of Annaco Scrap Metal Recycling in Akron says he has no problem with a state metal recycling law as long as it's enforced equally to everyone.
He says a state law won't be nearly as tough as the Akron City metal recycling ordinance already in effect which requires customers to be photographed, properly identified and even fingerprinted to sell their scrap metal. He tells AkronNewsNow the Akron ordinance cost him legitimate customers " We lost about 40% of our peddler flow trade, what we call the common guy who cleans out his garage or barn and comes in. That's what we call our peddlers. We lost them when the ordinance was passed several years ago."
He says those former customers took their scrap metal to other surrounding communities that don't have metal recycling rules. He says the state law would help level the playing field for scrap metal dealers.
Jeff Bauer claims 99% of scrap yards in this area deal in legal scrap metal purchases, and don't buy metal they suspect has been obtained through theft.
Bauer favors an overall state ordinance. " Personally I think everyone should be under the same guidelines. If you're going to pass a state ordinance that should be what the local is too. Because what ends up happening is people drive out of the city limits, take their business to Barberton, or they take their business to Canton, and they avoid some of the laws. Look, we're not for crime. We're not for insinuating people should go out and steal scrap. Thats the last thing we want. But in the real world when grandma comes in carrying a bag of cans, how do you think she feels when we have to fingerprint her, take her picture, and treat her like a criminal, basically before she can even sell her aluminum cans to us," says Bauer.
He's hoping a good state law will help reduce the scrap metal thefts, while being fair to the businesses and their customers as well.