10/15/12 — State takes aim at ending copper thefts

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State takes aim at ending copper thefts

By Steve Herring
Published in News on October 15, 2012 1:46 PM

Wayne County commissioners Tuesday morning will be briefed on a new law aimed at making it more difficult for people to sell stolen metals, particularly copper.

Copper thefts have become a major problem in the county, with thieves stripping copper piping from homes. A favorite target has been air conditioning units.

The new law takes into account not only the value of the stolen metal, but the cost of repairs, when determining the type of crime that has been committed.

The meeting will get under way with an 8 a.m. agenda briefing followed by the formal session at 9 a.m. Both meetings will be held in the commissioners' meeting room on the fourth floor of the county courthouse annex.

Wayne County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Rick Farfour is scheduled to talk about the new law, which requires that a secondary scrap metal dealer have a fixed place of business to purchase nonferrous metals -- materials that do not contain significant quantities of iron or steel. They include, but are not limited to, copper wire, copper clad steel wire, copper pipe, copper bars, copper sheeting, aluminum other than aluminum cans, a product that is a mixture of aluminum and copper, catalytic converters, lead-acid batteries and stainless steel beer kegs or containers.

The scrap dealers will be required to take a video or digital photo of the seller together with the metal he or she is selling. They must also keep a copy of the seller's identification.

The dealer will be limited to making no more than $100 in a cash transaction when purchasing the metals. Any payment in excess of $100 per transaction will have to be made by check, money order or cash card system.

Also, the purchaser cannot make more than one cash purchase per day from any individual, business, corporation or partnership.

The law prohibits the purchase of any central air conditioner evaporator coils or condensers or catalytic converters that are not attached to a vehicle. The exception is when a secondary metals recycler purchases those items from a company, contractor or individual that is in the business of installing, replacing, maintaining, or removing them.

While there are a number of exceptions, the law makes it illegal to transport or possess more than 25 pounds of nonferrous metals on state roads.

In other business Tuesday, commissioners will consider scheduling public hearings for Nov. 20 at 9:15 a.m. on three rezoning requests.

Ronnie Matthews has requested rezoning that would allow him to establish a private cemetery at 423 Millers Chapel Road. The property is located on the west side of Millers Chapel Road approximately 300 feet north of Powell Road.

The land is located in the light industry zone and the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Accident Potential Zone II and Noise Contour 70.

Cemeteries are not permitted uses in the light industry zone.

National Salvage and Service Corp. wants to rezone approximately 54 acres in Brogden Township from light industry to heavy industry. The property is owned by BMCA of Goldsboro, Inc. and is located on the south side of the Old Mount Olive Highway between the railroad tracks and Genoa Road.

The company is proposing to use the existing vacant facility to receive used poles and railroad cross ties and process them into landscape material. The cross ties would be primarily delivered by rail. The product would be shipped out by truck. The industry would have approximately 30 employees. The current zoning does not allow this type of industry.

James B. Sasser has asked the county to rezone one lot totaling approximately 35,600 square feet in Brogden Township from residential agriculture 30 to village district. The property is located on the south side of Genoa Road between the railroad tracks and Woodland Acres Avenue.

Sasser plans to open a used car business at his residence. The current zoning does not allow for a business that requires outside storage.

The Planning Board has recommended approval for all three requests.

In another planning-related issue, commissioners will be asked to approve the final plat for the eight-lot Countryside South subdivision on the west side of Charlie Braswell Road.

The Planning Board has recommended approval.

Commissioners will meet as the Board of Adjustment to consider a special use permit for a bingo business at 3524 U.S. 13 South, Grantham.

The public comment section will start at 10 a.m.