Scrapper group says targeting dealers is misguided to stop theft

The national association representing metal recyclers said the province and police should investigate unregistered metal dealers and thieves, not legitimate dealers to crack down on metal theft.

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The British Columbia government has issued 16 tickets to junk dealers under a law passed 10 years ago to crack down on theft and scrap metal fencing.


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The Department of Public Safety and the Solicitor General has carried out 250 inspections of the province’s 69 registered metal traders, which works out to a rate of about one every three years on average.

The Metal Dealers and Recyclers Act (MDRA) was passed ten years ago in response to an increase in metal theft from construction sites, public utility property and even public plaques and monuments.

The ministry did not respond to a request for further comment on how it interpreted the number of tickets, most of which related to incomplete collection or reporting of transactions, or the frequency of inspections.

But the head of a national association representing scrap dealers said metal theft is rampant and that a law that targets legitimate scrap dealers instead of dishonest dealers and thieves themselves is the wrong way to tackle theft. .


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“Regulating scrap metal dealers doesn’t stop metal theft,” Tracy Shaw, CEO of the Canadian Association of Recycling Industries, said in an email.

“Metal theft is a problem,” she said. But “scrap dealers are not fences; they are legal businesses that are essential to Canada’s environmental and economic health.

“These 16 tickets were issued mainly for administrative offenses. How many resulted in the recovery of stolen material? How many resulted in the conviction of the thief (s)? “

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She said: “Thieves know where to take the material so that it is not recorded or traced: to illegitimate dealers, across borders or (as is particularly common with catalytic converters at this time), on online platforms like Facebook Marketplace. “


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Analyzing the number of tickets or the frequency of inspections is like asking the wrong questions, said Jan Dimant, co-owner with her husband, Dov Dimant, of Capital Salvage in Vancouver.

“You might want to ask how many times have thieves been arrested for the act?” ” she said.

Capital Salvage submits a daily report of metal purchases to Vancouver Police, as required by law, but “I don’t think this is a priority for the police, crown attorneys and the court system.” ‘take it out on those who lock up stolen metals or those unregistered buyers who were operating mobile operations with little or no consequences for thefts, she said.

“What’s the point of arresting people if they don’t do anything” to make sure they’re charged and prosecuted? she said.


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The law, which targets legitimate dealers, is “not effective.” It’s just there to appease public opinion, ”said Jan Dimant.

And the metal thefts will continue as long as there are people desperate enough to steal due to poverty and drug addiction issues, and those causes need to be addressed, she said.

A spokesperson for the ministry, who did not want to be identified, said in an email that the MDRA requires companies that buy scrap metal to register. The ministry’s security programs division is responsible for registration, compliance and enforcement. Inspectors issued all 16 tickets and 127 warnings for violations such as failure to assign a customer code, collect or record required transaction information or provide it to the police, operate unregistered or to pay cash for regulated metal over $ 50.


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The law provides for fines of up to $ 10,000 for individuals and up to $ 100,000 for businesses.

Police have laid charges of theft under $ 5,000 in recent months against those suspected of stealing catalytic converters, which don’t necessarily have to be included in the purchases junkyards make to police on a daily basis. Thefts of these emission control devices have quadrupled in British Columbia over the past five years, to 1,061 last year from 270 in 2016, costing ICBC about $ 2 million in claims reimbursements and homeowners. of cars hundreds of dollars each for their full deductibles.

The ministry spokesman said he had received requests for converters to be included in legislation and was consulting with police and industry.



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