Proposed Bill To Make Selling Scrap Metal Tougher

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A bill in the Missouri House would make it a lot tougher for thieves to sell stolen copper. But a Fenton man sure wishes the proposed law would cover a lot more.

For most of Monday morning, Rich Stochl was calling scrap metal dealers, hoping they might have seen two aluminum ramps he uses to use to load his ATV into his van.

Three days ago, he noticed they were missing.

"I had them cable locked, I really didn`t think somebody would have the cahones to jump up on top of my van and steal ramps off the top of my van," Stochl said.

Despite having parked with the back end of his van next to a steep hill, a brazen thief stole the ramps.

"The guy would have had to got on the hill and grabbed up for the ladder, got on top of the van, take the straps off, cut the lock, I mean it would have been a lot of work involved," Stochl said.

Together, Stochl thinks the aluminum ramps weigh about 100 pounds, worth maybe about 50 cents a pound on the scrap market.

And while that may not sound like much, for someone stealing to feed a drug habit, a little goes a long way.

And that's why a bill has been introduced in the Missouri House making it much more difficult to sell scrap metal by requiring among other things that peddlers be licensed and have sales records kept for at least three years.

But most of the legislation applies only to copper, and State Rep. Michele Kratky, a democrat from SouthSt. Louis, and a co-sponsor of the bill, thinks at this point, making it more complicated could kill the proposed law, which is already in trouble.

"I am understanding there are some scrap metal dealers in the Kansas City area that are totally opposed to this and that is where the holdup is right now," Kratky said.

Rich Stochl thinks if the scrap metal laws were broader, he could have spent the day on his ATV instead of on the phone.

"I think if you cover one thing you are going to have results from one thing.  If you cover everything you are going to send a message that if you want to come and steal you are going to pay the price just like anything else," Stochl said.

The bill before the house is virtually the same as the new scrap metal law that went into effect in January in St. Louis.

But right now, the bill before the house has yet to even be assigned to a committee.