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New Missouri law toughens penalties for metal theft

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By Adam Allington, KWMU

St. Louis – Missouri now has a law on the books to help police officers investigate and prosecute cases of metal theft. Governor Matt Blunt signed the legislation Wednesday.

The new law raises the penalty for metal theft to a Class-C felony and also requires scrap dealers to keep detailed records on people from whom they purchase metal.

Missouri State Highway Maj. Ron Repogle said the measure makes it easier to go after unscrupulous recyclers.

"We will now go to the scrap dealers and ask to see the records that they are required by this legislation to keep, we'll be able to track who sold that scrap metal and have tools to be able to conduct an investigation and hopefully follow back and solve the case," Repogle said.

So far this year more than 200 cases of metal theft have cost Missourians in excess of $1.2 million.

One particular theft involved two men from Independence who allegedly stole over 16,000 pounds of material from an Army munitions plant.

The global price of copper has increased five fold since 2004 because of demand from growing economies in China, India and other countries.

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