Metcalfe Legislation To Clamp Down on Copper Wiring Theft Approved by State House
2/8/2012
HARRISBURG —Legislation sponsored by State Representative Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) to make the punishment more adequately fit the crime for copper wiring theft was approved by the state House today.

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.”

“Two individuals were daring enough to attempt to steal copper wiring from an operating 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 crimes 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.

“By signing this legislation into law Pennsylvania can send an undeniable message, just like more than 30 other states,” said Metcalfe. “Repeat offenders who make a criminal enterprise out of stealing copper wiring or any other secondary metal should spend serious time behind bars. Protecting the private property rights of our citizens and job-creating business owners requires nothing less than prosecution to the fullest extent of law and maximum consequences for repeat offenders.”

House Bill 2032 now advances to the state Senate for consideration.

State Representative Daryl Metcalfe
12th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Ty McCauslin
tmccausl@pahousegop.com
717.772.9979
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