For Immediate Release
HARRISBURG – This week the Senate unanimously approved legislation sponsored by Senator Mike Waugh that would amend the Crimes Code to establish and define the offense of theft of secondary metals.
Senate Bill 688 amends Title 18 (Crimes & Offenses) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes to add a new section concerning the theft of secondary metals. Such metals are often targeted for their value for recycling and include wire, pipe or cable commonly used by railroad and commuter rail agencies, as well as gas, electrical, and communications utilities.
“This proposal is in response to rising prices for metals, including copper, and to deter the theft of wire, cable, or pipe from homes, businesses, construction sites, and utility infrastructure,” said Waugh.
Under current law, the theft of secondary metals would be classified as the general crime of theft by unlawful taking, which carries a lesser charge than Waugh’s legislation.
“I feel strongly that this particular theft should be defined within the law and should carry higher penalties because of the harm it poses to unknowing individuals,” said Waugh. “Theft of these materials could result in anything ranging from disruption of services to a serious catastrophe.”
The theft of secondary metal would be a misdemeanor of the third degree when the value of the metal is less than $50, a misdemeanor of the second degree if the value of the metal is between $50 and $200, a misdemeanor of the first degree if the value of the metal is between $200 and $1,000 and a felony of the third degree when the value of the metal is more than $1,000.
SB 688 was approved unanimously by the Senate and now heads to the House for consideration.