The ordinance – which is only in draft form right now – would require businesses that buy items such as scrap metal, jewelry and precious metals to keep more detailed records and send those records to police weekly.
During a City Council work session last night, McKean County District Attorney Ray Learns said tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of items have been stolen and sold under the guise of being scrap.
"The real problem is that sometimes what’s being sold as scrap was never intended to be scrap. So it’s not that somebody is stealing a pile of rusty metal behind a house that they were going to use as scrap," Learn said. "The bigger problem is when they’re cutting good copper pipe out of a house, or they’re cutting up a good well jack, or they’re cutting up a power station or they’re cutting up something else that has a legitimate use and then selling it for the scrap value."
Mark Cline of Cline Oil said over the past year $178,000 worth of equipment has been stolen from just one of their leases and sold for scrap.
Learn says they hope the new ordinance will make thieves think: If they can’t fence it; they won’t steal it.
One of the new requirements for the buyers would be taking pictures of the items. City Police Chief Chris Lucco said this would help in getting the items back to their owners.