Michigan legislators are seeking a consensus to deal with an epidemic of precious metals theft, a situation that frustrates law enforcement officials, victims and recycling yards, reports the Detroit News. At the center of the controversy is a battle over establishing more regulations and waiting periods before a scrap metal sale can be completed. One side says businesses are reluctant to agree to a waiting period for fear of giving up a revenue stream that is based in part on stolen property. Others argue that proposals could entangle legitimate commerce in governmental intervention and there are more effective, less-intrusive ways to fight illegal practices.
At the Haskell Youth Center in Flint, surveillance camera footage from last May showed three men with a ladder making off in the dark with parts stolen from the building's four air-conditioning units. Last year, the state House approved a scrapping crackdown measure in a 98-9 vote. The momentum slowed when the bill reached the Senate because it contains a three-day waiting period for payment on certain items, a provision opposed by the recycling/scrap metal industry. Gov. Rick Snyder addressed the issue in his state of the state address because, a spokeswoman said, “he believes that this is a problem that must be resolved to help ensure public safety, fight blight and protect our homeowners, farmers and businesses from losing hard-earned money.”