SC officials say new laws don't stem copper thefts

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) - Although tougher laws have been passed, officials in South Carolina say metal robbers continue to plague homeowners, churches, government agencies and utilities.

The Greenville News reports that thefts continue despite a decline in copper prices. The continued thefts have led lawmakers to consider even tougher laws targeting the recycling of metal taken from air conditioners.

Current law requires sellers of copper to first obtain a permit from their local sheriff's office before taking their metal to a scrap yard.

Some utilities say they have actually seen a reduction in thefts after the law was passed. Mark Quinn of Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina says members generally have seen far fewer thefts since the law was enacted in the summer of 2011.

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