Courts & Crime

Kansas passes legislation cracking down on copper theft

Bills cracking down on theft of scrap metal and toughening penalties for leaving the scene of an accident cleared their final legislative hurdle and are on their way to the governor’s desk.

The House today also sent a second bill outlawing the drug known as “bath salts,” to clean up problems found in a similar bill that has already been signed into law by Gov. Sam Brownback.

The major change in law regarding scrap metal is to set the penalty for thieves based on the cost of replacing what they steal, rather than the value of the metal stolen, according to Rep. Pat Colloton, R-Leawood, chairwoman of the House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee.

That provision of House Bill 2312 is meant to address the problem that arises when a thief does thousands of dollars in damage to, for example, a heating and air conditioning system, to steal a few dollars worth of copper.

The bill’s provisions also require that scrap dealers keep a dossier of information on customers who sell more than $50 worth of scrap, including: name, address, sex, date of birth and a copy of the person’s driver’s license or other government- issued identification. In some cases, a thumbprint would be required.

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