www.mozilla.com Weather Central

New security system will check Wichita school visitors against sex offender database -8/20/2014, 4:46 PM

Kansas students above average on ACT; fewer met math readiness benchmarks -8/20/2014, 4:46 PM

Kansas gas prices continue to fall -8/20/2014, 4:46 PM

Happiness at Holcomb: Students, teachers excited for first day of class -8/20/2014, 4:46 PM

Fire damages apartment building in El Dorado -8/20/2014, 4:46 PM

Dick's opens sporting goods store in Garden City -8/19/2014, 4:46 PM

Salina firefighters to participate in Fill the Boot -8/19/2014, 3:52 PM

Plenty of food options for hungry car enthusiasts at BlackTop Nationals -8/19/2014, 3:51 PM

Empac CEO Gordon Rogers set to retire -8/19/2014, 3:51 PM

Dr. Trent Davis to fill city seat -8/19/2014, 3:51 PM

201408181443MCT_____REG_NEWS13693021_0 -8/18/2014, 3:50 PM

Brownback unveils campaign platform, vows to add 100,000 private sector jobs -8/18/2014, 3:50 PM

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback pushes small-business agenda -8/18/2014, 3:50 PM

Derby Public School among Kansas nominations for National Register of Historic Places -8/18/2014, 3:50 PM

Wichita police hope movie about fake cops won't spur impersonation cases -8/18/2014, 3:50 PM

Robbers break into residence, threaten man with hammer and gun -8/18/2014, 3:49 PM

Reno County deputy, wife die from injuries in motorcycle accident -8/18/2014, 3:49 PM

Lindsborg group raising money to restore Coronado Heights castle, park -8/18/2014, 3:49 PM

Kansas oil and gas group to hear about lesser prairie chicken ruling -8/18/2014, 3:49 PM

myTown Calendar

[var top_story_head]

Wichita officials seek to curb thefts of copper

Published on -6/24/2013, 6:53 AM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- In a move to curb increased thefts of copper and other metals, Wichita city officials and local police are considering revising the city's scrap metal ordinance.

Expected to be brought to the city council by early fall, the revision would classify copper as a specially regulated metal, such as tungsten carbide. Such a designation would require scrap dealers to hold the copper for 72 hours, presumably giving police a better shot at tracking the metal back to the thief or victim.

The Wichita Eagle reported (http://bit.ly/11RxvSz the new ordinance will also allow the chief of police to suspend a business' operations for one day or more, much like suspensions are handled for liquor violations. Currently, the case has to be brought before the city council for a hearing.

Reactions to the proposal were mixed. Wichita has 19 licensed scrap dealers, one of which is Alan Boge, owner of Boge Iron and Metal Co. He said the most difficult part is determining if the metal is stolen.

"It creates a terrible logistics problem," Boge said. "The problem is not more regulations. The police need to have more staff to chase them (the thieves) down."

But Doug Harding, general manager of AllMetal Recycling, said scrap dealers want to do all they can to help the city stop thefts -- even if it means more regulations.

"We have to push forward to figure out a solution," Harding said. "We have to be the ones to say, 'No more, and here's what we're going to do to stop the thefts.' "

The 2010 ordinance now in place requires the scrap dealer to take down a seller's identification, license plate, address and a statement saying the metal is their property, or if it is not, that the metal is not stolen. People selling air-conditioning units, thefts of which have recently increased, are required to have a statement tag saying the unit has been safely removed.

With copper thefts, the damage to the property is usually more than the copper is actually worth.

As of June 20, No.1 copper - copper that has no contaminants - was selling for $2.65 a pound. The person selling the copper usually gets anywhere from $20 to $40 on an average sale.

"Ninety-five percent of the business the scrap dealers do is honest business," Boge said. "Sometimes you get fooled, but not very often."

The problem with assigning more staff to investigate the thefts comes down to budget restrictions, said council member Lavonta Williams said.

Om Chauhan, who said he owns about 70 properties around Wichita, said he has to deal with a copper theft about once a month. He not only has to replace the stolen copper, but also loses money on the property.

"It takes a significant toll on me," Chauhan said. "Not only the loss of the copper, I have to spend several thousand dollars to restore it, but there's also added time the property is vacant."

digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos