Last updated: May 06. 2014 4:11PM - 823 Views

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Dear Editor:

On March 2, 2012, Joe Kudia, Strategic Analyst for the National Insurance Crime Bureau released a data analytics report regarding national metal theft insurance claims. This report revealed that Ohio led the nation with the most metal theft claims from January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2011. The report spurred Ohio legislators into the adoption of Ohio Senate Bill 193, the expansion of commercial regulation regarding the metal recycling industry. Regardless of this expanded regulation, the subsequent annual report of the NICB, dated May 1, 2013, revealed that Ohio continued to remain the national leader in metal theft claims. In the coming weeks, I expect that the latest release from the NICB will remain consistent with the previous two reports.

Scrap metal thefts have plagued our community for far too long. As a county we have experienced damage to our power and communication grids. The loss of public property like road signs and sewer grates. The theft of catalytic converters from county owned vehicles, as well as the theft of honorary veteran plaques from our cemeteries. Metal theft from businesses within the county have equated to millions of dollars in direct monetary loss and hundreds, if not thousands of individual private citizens have suffered personal loss due to these thefts. Private homes and places of worship have been stripped of copper pipe, electrical wire, aluminum siding, gutters, and air conditioning units. Catalytic converters, batteries, and aluminum wheels, all have been stolen from privately owned vehicles throughout the county.

I have studied this matter thoroughly and recognize that locally there is much that we can do to curb this activity and become the county that leads this state away from our current position as the highest loss state. As mentioned previously; Ohio legislators were quick to add further regulation to this industry but they failed to recognize that existing regulations were not being enforced. The Ohio Revised Code prohibits any business that deals in recyclable metals from operating without a license. Currently in Morrow County there are discrepancies between the number of businesses operating in this field vs. the number that are licensed to do so. As a citizen who was forced directly into concern about this issue; I am looking forward to the immediate, corrective actions that I expect will be taken by our local authorities.

I ask on behalf of the citizens of Morrow County that our local law enforcement authorities, the County Sheriff and Chiefs of Police, identify and list all businesses within their respective jurisdictions that deal in the purchase and resale of scrap metals, precious metals, or are in the business of automobile salvage. I ask that these findings be communicated electronically or in writing to the County Auditor. I then ask that the auditor confirm the proper licensing of each of these businesses, and then take the appropriate and immediate actions necessary when licenses have not been obtained. Furthermore; I ask that our local authorities become extremely familiar and well versed with the respective Ohio Revised Codes, and become current and proactive with their duties of inspection and reporting procedures in regard to these businesses.

In sixty days from this publishing; I will be submitting multiple public records requests regarding this issue. At the very least; I am hoping that I can report to my fellow citizens that the standard operating procedures of our law enforcement agencies and the auditors weights and measures inspector include checking the license status of these operations whenever they visit these facilities. And in the event that an unlicensed or expired license status is discovered; that immediate notification of the auditor and county prosecutor is made so that a stop order may be issued to the business owner until compliance is met.

Thank you in advance.

Regards, Darin Seiber, Canaan Township

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