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To Curb Theft, Law Requires Metal Dealers To ID Sellers

The law aims to reduce theft by requiring metal dealers get more information from the people selling them precious metals.

Lawmakers hope new legislation taking effect Monday will help curb theft in Hoosier communities.

Cash for gold businesses have dramatically increased in number across Indiana over the last few years, and because they are not subject to the same kind of regulation as, for instance, pawn brokers, stolen gold brought into a cash for gold business is often melted down immediately.

That puts police trying to recover the property at a disadvantage, which is why LaPorte Republican Representative Tom Dermody sponsored legislation that requires precious metal dealers to hold items brought in for 10 days and obtain identification information from the seller.

“Hopefully it will be able to deter them because they won’t have an easy access to take those into these cash for gold places and get cash out of it,” Dermody says.

Legislation sponsored by Indianapolis Democratic Representative Justin Moed has a similar aim: making it harder for thieves to sell catalytic converters and copper coils stolen from air conditioners. The bill requires people to show proof of ownership of a vehicle or AC unit before selling the items to scrap yards, unless they are in the auto or HVAC business.

Moed says the measure is trying to change the way the frequently stolen items are sold.

“What we’re wanting is it to be more of a business-to-business transaction or in those cases where, if you want to get rid of it, you can show proof that it’s yours,” he says. “But we would prefer it to start going through business-to-business transactions to cut down on the number of thefts.”

Moed says a single catalytic converter can be worth more than $100 and he has talked to scrap yard owners who have seen people bring in bags of the valuable car parts. He says the new law will make it harder for thieves to profit from stolen goods.

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