Editorial: Regulating Scrap Dealers

The state of Ohio finally acted last week to shut down the De Facto Fencing operation that has existed for years in the scrap metal business.

Regulations took effect that require owners of scrap yards in the state to keep detailed records of transactions involving the sales of items that are frequently stolen. In recent years, the rising price of copper and other metals has sparked an explosion of theft with thieves stripping copper from vacant homes, catalytic converters from cars - even manhole covers.

According to a recent report, the thieves have got so brazen some were climbing telephone poles to cut the telephone wires to sell at area scrap yards. Some scrap dealers are complaining about this new law because they say it will mean more paperwork for them. What they don't say is that the law may also cut into their profits by reducing their opportunity to receive stolen merchandise. The only way to stop the scrap metal thieves was to tighten regulations on the scrap dealers - let's hope it works.