If you're farming or ranching in California, there's a good chance you've been the victim of metal theft or know someone who has. From copper wire to brass valves to aluminum irrigation pipe, crooks are attacking at an alarming rate and doing a considerable amount of damage along the way.
The story is a familiar one: A farmer checks his pump in preparation for irrigating and finds that the copper wire has been stripped and there is no way to provide water to the fields. He makes the loop, checking all of the pumps on the property and learns he has been the victim of copper theft at multiple locations. Thieves have stripped the pumps in order to recycle the wire at the local scrap yard. Receiving approximately $3 a pound, the crooks have made a couple hundred dollars for their night's work - and left their victim facing a repair bill of $1,500 to $4,000 or more for each pump.
Farm Bureau was happy to sponsor legislation to address this issue and was successful in seeing a series of bills aimed at preventing metal theft signed into law in 2008. We will continue to work with law enforcement and the Legislature to ensure that solutions to metal theft remain a top priority.
Use the links below to learn more about laws to combat metal theft.
Junk/Scrap Metal Transfer Document (PDF, 26 KB)
Metal Theft Prevention: New Business and Professions Code Requirements (PDF, 54 KB)
Ag Alert coverage
Legislators seek ways to slow rural metal thefts (May 23, 2012)
Farmers, deputies see increase in metal theft (July 7, 2010)
Commentary: New laws help with rural crime prevention (January 7, 2009)
New laws aim to slow metal theft (October 8, 2008)
Statewide metal theft bill clears key committee (August 13, 2008)
Metal thieves converge on Patterson farms (January 9, 2008)
Commentary: Metal theft (October 17, 2007)
Metal theft prevention now in local hands (July 11, 2007)
Heavy lifting: Legislators join rural crime detectives to fight metal theft (April 18, 2007)