Two new laws crack down on copper and other metal thefts

Two new laws designed to deter copper and scrap metal thieves take effect today. One of the new laws creates tougher penalties for those who steal copper wiring and other scrap metal from utilities, railroads and other sites for resale. When anyone attempts to sell guard rails from the road, water meters, or manhole covers, that will be more tightly scrutinized. Until now, the metal theft crimes have been misdemeanors, but as of today it becomes a felony if a metal theft disrupts a utility. Another new law makes scrap metal dealers in West Virginia register with the Secretary of State's office to track metal purchases.