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Metal recyclers unhappy about new law

By Mahsa Saeidi, Reporter
Published On: Nov 15 2012 09:42:06 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 16 2012 08:09:09 AM CST
ONSLOW COUNTY -

It's been only a month but one business owner said a new law aimed at preventing copper theft is hurting his bottom line, and is unfair to his 30 thousand plus customers.

"They want to punish all the innocent people who do it the right way," said John Darlington, owner of J&E Salvage on Blue Creek Road in Jacksonville. 

The Metal Theft Prevention Act of 2012, which went into effect on October 1, requires photographing all sellers and having to pay them by check if the transaction exceeds one hundred dollars.  

Darlington said the check system is bad for his business. "Since January, we've had some 30 thousand customers," said Darlington, "writing 30 thousand checks, it'll drive my bookkeeper up the wall."

Gary Wood, customer at J&E, has been selling scrap metal since 1993.  

Wood understands that crime is an issue but he too disagrees with the new rules.  "I think it sucks," said Wood.  "I don't have a checking account, and I don't want one."

Rep. George Cleveland, who represents Onslow County in District 14, said copper theft is a huge problem.

"They are stealing other people's property," said Cleveland in speaking about the criminals, "they are chopping it up, taking it out, selling it and reaping the profits."

Cleveland said previous laws that required keeping a detailed record of sellers were inadequate in curtailing theft.  Checks, however, create a paper trail.  "We'll be able to catch them easier and prosecute them and put a curb to this type of theft," said Cleveland. 

Darlington doubts the new law will prevent crime.  "

They just don't know what you go through to run a business like this," said Darlington. "They just sit behind that desk and pass all these laws and think it's going to make the world nice, it don't work that way."

Wood agrees stating that the new law will cost him. "I got to go to the bank, I got to pay the bank five dollars to get my money," said Wood.  "I'm not doing that."