Metcalfe Legislation To Combat Copper Wiring Theft Advances to House Floor
HARRISBURG — The House Judiciary Committee today approved legislation sponsored by State Representative Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) to address the issue of copper wiring thefts occurring across the Commonwealth.

Metcalfe introduced House Bill 2032 in response to a group of local small business owners who alerted him to the issue of criminals repeatedly stealing copper wiring and other types of secondary metals from their private company properties. A secondary metal is defined as “wire or cable commonly used by communications and electrical utilities, copper, aluminum or other metal, or combination of metals that is valuable for recycling or reuse as raw material.”

“Recently, two individuals were daring enough to attempt to steal copper wiring from an electrical substation located in the center of my legislative district,” said Metcalfe. “The incident caused an explosion that left approximately 3,800 residents in two counties without electricity for several hours and caused $61,000 worth of damage. Final passage of my legislation will create the increased penalties that actually fit a crime of this caliber.”

Under current law, individuals charged with stealing copper wiring are minimally charged with theft for the unlawful taking or disposition of private property, regardless of total property value.
Once enacted, Metcalfe’s legislation would create a “grading” based offense in the Title 18 Crimes Code for thefts of secondary metals where criminals would be “graded” and penalized based on the total amount stolen.

In an effort to crack down on repeat offenders and district attorney plea bargaining to minimal offenses, House Bill 2032 would create a third degree felony offense (maximum penalty seven years imprisonment and/or $15,000 fine) for individuals who are charged with a third and subsequent theft of secondary metals, regardless of the amount stolen.

“Desperate times increase the prominence and frequency of desperate crimes,” said Metcalfe. “The theft of secondary metals is a problem that goes far beyond the 12th Legislative District. Already 33 states have enacted tougher laws regulating the sale of scrap metal or criminalizing secondary metal theft. By passing this legislation, Pennsylvania can join these states in protecting both the profit margins and private property rights of our job-creating small business owners.”

House Bill 2032 now advances to the full House for consideration.

State Representative Daryl Metcalfe
12th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Ty McCauslin 
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