Senator sponsors tour showing effects of scrap metal theft - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Senator sponsors tour showing effects of scrap metal theft in Detroit

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(WJBK) -

State Senator Virgil Smith held a tour Friday showing the effects of scrap metal theft.

The meeting included community leaders sharing how the theft has affected their neighborhoods; speaking with Homrich, a company that deals with scrap metal theft on a daily basis; a tour of buildings facing demolition; and speaking with scrap metal dealers.

"We felt like we needed to get people out here to see what it actually looks like. This epitomizes urban decay inside the city of Detroit," says Virgil.

Smith is pushing for a scrap metal theft authority to fund law enforcement teams to go after scrappers, and tougher laws to prosecute scrappers.

"Right now it's a larceny crime. So, give you an idea, 300 pounds of copper is only $900 - that's still a misdemeanor," Virgil explains.

John Dingell owns Dix Scrap Iron and Metal and is in favor of a scrap metal theft registry, a list of convicted scrappers who would be denied service.

"Scrap metal dealers aren't the devil. We don't have horns - we participate in the economy by recycling metals. The economy would collapse if metals weren't recycled," Dingell says. "We don't have a surefire mechanism to know what is stolen and what isn't."

He and others at the tour today say they won't have any way of knowing until action is taken in Lansing.

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