Before you take your next piece of scrap metal to recycle, there is something you may want to know. As of July 1st, there are new laws that change they way metals are bought and sold.
"We've tried to educate our customers, we've tried to stay ahead of this change in the law," said Mark Moseley, VP of Lewis Metals.
The new state law, clearly posted outside of Lewis Metals, tightens up existing scrap metal laws in an effort to crack down on metal theft. Moseley says current issues have driven people to do desperate things for money.
"Social issues are coming to bear out, unemployment, all of this has changed and I never thought I'd see it at this level," Moseley said.
Several changes to the law include sellers being required to present certain types of metal to the scrap buyer in a vehicle, not in hand. Also, rather than cash, checks will be provided for certain metals. Stealing certain types of metals are now a first degree felony.
Along with those requirements comes a new proof of ownership requirement, meaning there are certain metals you have to prove you own before you can sell them. By law, there are about 20 restricted metal items you need a proof of ownership for, from copper wire to shopping carts.
"It is a complex statute, and for the metal workers it's been an adjustment," said sergeant John Corley with the Bay County Sheriff's Office.
Sergeant Corley says the laws, and a new scrap metal database, allows law enforcement to work more efficiently.
"We're able to use the data base, gather the information in a short amount of time," Sergeant Corley said. "Who took the item, or maybe where those individuals got those items."
Mosely said with the law being so new, the results aren't in yet, and he has his concerns.
"That people that are stealing they're still gonna steal," Moseley said. "That people are gonna travel to other states and the problem will continue."
The impact of the law may not be felt for months, but one place he doesn't want the impact felt is on honest people trying to make an honest buck.
"We've tried to make our honest customers understand that this is no threat to them," Moseley said.
To read the full law, and take a look at the restricted items, visit http://www.floridarecyclersassociation.org/metals_theft_laws.php