State Copper ordinance trumps local law - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

State Copper ordinance trumps local law

August 28, 2007

Albany - Copper theft is such a big problem, that 20 states passed copper theft laws this year, including Georgia. Georgia's new law supercedes any local laws and regulations and one Albany recycling company thinks it will help curb copper thefts.

It's only been six months since Albany City Commissioners voted to pass a copper ordinance to cut down on copper theft within the city. Now that ordinance is pretty much void.

"You can't just say we're going to legislate it in Dougherty County or Lee County or Worth county because the copper thieves will just go to an adjoining county where they know there is no law," said Al Corriere.

That's why state leaders passed a law that will apply to every county. "The state has set out a uniform law that cannot be modified by the county and local governments." Al Corriere, attorney for Albany Recycling, says this way his client isn't given a bad name for ongoing copper thefts.

He says they work hard making sure the metals they buy are legit and others will be forced to do the same or face prosecution.  He said, "Now anybody who's doing this knows there is no safe haven, that this the law across the board from border to border in Georgia and if you are going to steal something, you're going to be subject to this and there's a good likelihood you're going to get severely punished if you either steal it or know it's been stolen."

And he says Albany Recycling is thankful for copper theft arrests. "We would like to implement a program to reward those officers who are successful in apprehending these copper thieves."

Thieves who should think twice about trying to sell their stolen goods anywhere in the state.

Corriere says he's not sure about the legality of giving rewards to police officers, but says he'll ask the city attorney and police chief to look into that issue. Albany Recycling is willing to give APD $1500 a year.  

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