Gary Bartlett of Ellice Recycle holds a form filled out each time sellers bring in scrap metal to the yard.

Police hope proposed legislation deters theft

Saanich Police are hoping that new legislation will help curb a growing criminal problem in the Capital Region.

Saanich Police are hoping that new legislation proposed by the provincial government will help curb a growing criminal problem in the Capital Region.

Metal thefts are on the rise, thanks in part to the high value of materials such as copper and aluminum. Phone lines, which are made with copper wire, are among the more popular targets, but increasingly police are seeing other materials being taken.

“We saw one case where there was a break-in and a number of brass fittings were stolen,” said Saanich police Sgt. Dean Jantzen. “That’s exactly the type of thing this legislation could help deal with.”

Saanich Police have handled 15 cases this year in which metal products were the primary target. That’s up from just five a year ago.

The problem with metal thefts, said Jantzen, is that they can create a nuisance — and potentially a serious risk — for the general public. When phone lines are damaged by thieves, for example, communication systems are compromised, cutting people off from vital emergency services.

“When lines go down, 911 goes down,” said Jantzen. “If all you have is a house phone, you can’t dial 911.”

In another recent case, thieves made off with a large number of sewer grates from a stretch of the Pat Bay Highway, creating a hazardous situation for drivers and cyclists.

Part of the reason metal products are so attractive to thieves is that they can be sold to scrap dealers with little to no scrutiny, something which the new legislation is aimed at stopping.

Under Bill 13, the Metal Dealers and Recyclers Act, scrap dealers will have to keep records of the type and weight of metals they purchase, any distinguishing marks, and where the seller says they got it. That information is to be shared with law enforcement on a daily basis, and the records are to be kept for at least one year.

Dealers will also be required to maintain a registry of sellers’ personal information, including their name, address, phone number and date of birth. To protect their privacy, each seller will be assigned a unique code. The only way that their personal info will be released to police is with a court order.

At least one local scrap dealer welcomes the new legislation.

“Most of the things in this (legislation), we already do,” said Gary Bartlett, general manager of Victoria-based Ellice Recycle. “We already check IDs, we take pictures, we itemize everything. To me it’s business as usual.”

What will change, Bartlett hopes, is the public’s perception of the industry.

editor@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Sidney designer showing killer collection at Van Fashion Week

A young Sidney designer is showing her 14 piece collection Obsidian Nights at Vancouver Fashion Week

WATCH: Oak Bay wins regional skating competition

Winning tradition continues leading up to provincials

Greater Victoria MP Randall Garrison calls on Ottawa to extend peacekeeping mission in Mali

The Esquimalt-Sooke-Saanich MP just returned from a trip to Mali and Senegal

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

POLL: Will you be wearing pink to take a stand against bullying?

Schools and workplaces across Greater Victoria and around the province will be… Continue reading

B.C. skip Sarah Wark and team eliminated at Scotties Tournament of Hearts

Nontheless pretty impressive stuff from the 24th-ranked team in the country

Pope’s sex abuse prevention summit explained

It’s A high-stakes meeting designed to impress on Catholic bishops the global problem

B.C. ticket holder winner of $25.9-million Lotto Max jackpot

Next draw set for Mar. 1 with an estimated jackpot of $10 million

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

Most Read