Stricter SC laws for transporting, selling metal start Monday

Metal theft
The items that were recovered from the recycling center. (WRDW-TV / April 27, 2012)
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News 12 First at Five / Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012

AIKEN, S.C. -- Hatcher Funeral Home & Cremation Service in Langley is now a fortress of cameras. Funeral director and owner Ed Hatcher can even pull them up on his iPhone at home.

"One Friday night in July, someone came and broke into five air conditioners and stole one of those," he told News 12.

Overall, $25,000 worth of damage was done in only a matter of minutes and for only a couple hundred dollars worth of metal.

"It's happened to a number of places near us just in the past two months," Hatcher said.

Starting Monday, Dec. 16, things change in the Palmetto State. Scrap yards and people who sell and transport the metal will have to obey a stricter law.

"There's a lot of different issues with the new law that's really given us some ways to enforce it and to make it a better thing for the community," said Cpt. Troy Elwell with the Aiken County Sheriff's Office.

He says, right now, getting a 48-hour permit just takes a quick phone call.

"You have no way to prove that the person on the other end of the phone is the person that you're actually giving that permit number to," he said.

The new law requires someone transporting and selling metal to go directly to the Sheriff's Office of his or her county. There they must apply for a two-year permit no matter how much or how little metal they're selling.

The only exceptions are iron scrap and aluminum cans. Manhole covers and grates will also no longer be accepted.

Also, the Sheriff's Office can deny the permit if an applicant has violated the law in the past.

The law also straps down on recyclers themselves. They'll have to do more paperwork and scrapping a car without paperwork will change, too.

"That's not going to fly anymore. You're going to have to be able to prove that vehicle is your vehicle before you can scrap it, and if you can't, you're going to be held accountable or the recycle center will. One or the other," Elwell said.

They're all changes welcomed by Hatcher.

"I just think you have people that are too lazy to work for a living," Hatcher said.

Coastal Recycling says the change won't be too bad for them. Its spokeswoman actually says it should prevent stolen cars from being brought to their Aiken facility.

Again, applicants need to get a two-year permit starting Monday. Additionally, if you already have a one-year permit, you don't need to replace it until it expires.

The hours to apply for a permit at the Aiken County Sheriff's Office will change slightly. They'll be open for permits from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. At the Edgefield County Sheriff's Office, you can apply for a permit between 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. At the Barnwell County Sheriff's Office, you can apply for a permit between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Elwell says you must apply for the permit in the county you will be transporting the metal in. There is a $10 replacement fee if you lose your permit and need another one.

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