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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

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For Immediate Release: March 5, 2007

Senator Cliff Branan
Senator Cliff Branan

Senate Approves Measure to Reduce Growing Problem of Copper Theft

The State Senate on Monday approved a measure intended to curb the growing problem of copper theft in Oklahoma. Senate Bill 472, authored by Sen. Cliff Branan, would require additional regulations for junk dealers, making it easier to establish a paper trail to track down copper thieves.
Branan said the legislature has to take action to curb a dramatically increasing problem throughout the state.

“Copper prices have fluctuated but basically they’ve increased nearly four-fold in the last few years,” said Branan, R-Oklahoma City. “It has become a very valuable and marketable commodity and subsequently it’s being stolen from wherever it can be found, whether from heating and air conditioning units, historical landmarks and even funeral vases. Copper has even been stolen from electrical substations, which can lead to entire power grids being knocked out.”

Branan explained the bill would require junk dealers to obtain photo identification of recycled copper sellers, along with information detailing how the copper was obtained and what purpose it was originally used for. Additionally, junk dealers would be required to hold purchased copper for fifteen days before re-selling.

“The issue of where copper is being stolen from is making it even more important that we address the problem quickly,” Branan said. “When copper is stolen from an air conditioner in extreme temperatures, it puts people at a serious risk. When copper theft brings down a power grid or removes a man hole it becomes a serious hazard with far-reaching consequences.”

Branan said the bill would also increase penalties for junk dealers who do not adhere to state regulations on copper theft. The fine for a first offense would increase from $50 to $500, and the second offense would result in a $2500 fine. Subsequent offenses could result in the junk dealer’s license being revoked.

“When copper is stolen from a home under construction it will subsequently raise the cost of home insurance,” said Branan. “When copper is stolen from a car engine, it will raise all of our car insurance premiums. It’s important that we pass this legislation to deter theft and give law enforcement additional tools to track down copper thieves.”

The measure will now advance to a House committee for consideration.

For more information contact:
Senator Branan's Office - (405) 521-5543

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