Metal theft, particularly copper, has become an extremely costly issue for both businesses and residential homeowners. In properties of all types, thieves are targeting copper in air conditioners, plumbing and other fixtures.
This crime impacts everyone. According to the Tucson Police Department, a total monetary loss of $2.1 million was recorded from January through June 2012.
Local government officials and business leaders have formed “a united community front” in an effort to combat the problem. On Thursday, November 15, they will host “Put a Lock on Metal Theft,” a special forum.
Planned participants include: Arizona State Representative Ted Vogt; Pima County Supervisor Ramon Valadez; Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild; Marana Mayor Ed Honea; Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath; and Sahuarita Vice Mayor Lynne Skelton.
The Metropolitan Pima Alliance (MPA), under the direction of executive director Amber Smith, has been driving the coalition’s efforts in recent months. A Metal Task Force has been formed and is actively working with the Arizona Legislature to change laws regarding metal theft.
Proposed revisions would include linking prosecution to the cost of repair, possibly making metal theft a felony. Stronger sentences for convicted metal thieves also are being considered.
Two other considerations are requiring a license to sell metal and restricting cash payments by scrap recyclers.
The metal theft forum will be held from 8 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. in the Copper Room at Randolph Golf Course, 200 S. Randolph Way in Reid Park. The event is free but advance registration is required online at http://mpaaz.org/ . For more details, contact MPA at (520) 878-8811.