The Michigan Credit Union League said it is supporting proposed legislation that would crack down on scrap metal theft from foreclosed properties.
HB 4593 was approved by a 98-9 vote of the Michigan State House of Representatives on Oct. 31 and now moves to the State Senate.
“MCUL and Affiliates has lobbied the Legislature on this package (bill) because credit unions have reported considerable metal theft from foreclosed properties and even branch properties in certain areas,” MCUL reported in its weekly membership newsletter.
“Scrap metal is a major problem for credit unions because in addition to any cost to repair the damage from the removal of metal, they also have to pay to replace the stolen metals to return the property to sellable condition, which is then still at risk for future theft,” the league said.
Current state law makes it difficult for police to pursue scrap metal thieves because of insufficient record-keeping standards, according to an analysis of the proposed bill by the House Fiscal Agency, a nonpartisan organization within Michigan’s House of Representatives. Moreover, because scrap metal theft occurs throughout the state, it is difficult for police to catch individuals who are stealing the scrap metal, the analysis said.
The House bill would address these problems by giving prosecutors the tools they need to convict scrap metal thieves by requiring additional documents of scrap metal purchases, its backers said. The bill also would require purchasers to wait three days to pay individuals who sell catalytic converters, copper wires and air conditioners, the most frequently stolen items, according to the MCUL.