On Feb. 22, agents conducted a compliance check on the local recyclers and issued summons to the owners for noncompliance with La. Law RS37:1864.3, which states that payment for copper or other metals must be made by check and records must be kept of any persons bringing metals to the shops.
"The thefts of copper and other precious metals has been an increasing issue with us," MPSO Sheriff Mike Tubbs said. "To date, we have arrested three persons allegedly involved in previous copper thefts which totaled over $150,000 and more arrests are pending."
Fortunately for law enforcement, the La. Legislature has passed laws to identify and leave a paper trail of those who go to recycling centers to sell copper.
"The laws were put into place not for your average person who is cleaning out their garage and takes metal to the recycler but for those who are constantly bringing those items," Tubbs said. "Anytime a person brings copper or other precious metals to a recycler, they must produce a valid ID which is photocopied. They will not receive money at that time, but are mailed a check to the address on their ID."
MPSO Inv. Mitchell Jeselink spends the bulk of his time educating recyclers and explaining new laws to them. In fact, he even made them aware a compliance check was coming.
"Because we have received so many complaints regarding these thefts, we are hyper vigilant to carry out the law and see that those companies do so as well," Tubbs continued. "Inv. Jeselink has really worked with our local recyclers to help them help themselves in this matter and it's a little disappointing to see that we had to issue citations."
While the owners of Road Runner Recycling and Big Daddy's Recycling were not present for the check, because they are the owners, they received the citations. Matt Barnes, owner of Road Runner, was issued a citation for paying cash for metal and Charles Brantley, owner of Big Daddy's, was issued a citation for paying cash as well as for not maintaining records of those who brought the metal in.