New copper theft law puts restrictions on recyclers

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCIV) - Gov. Nikki Haley signed a new bill known as the Copper Theft Bill that makes several changes to the current law regarding the sale and purchase of copper.

Under the new law, anyone who intends to transport and sell any non-ferrous metal, including copper and catalytic converters, to a scrap metal dealer must first obtain a free permit from the sheriff in the county where the seller lives.

There are two types of permits available to the public: one is a one-year permit and the other is a 48-hour permit.

To obtain the one-year permit, a person must submit an application to the sheriff's office in the county where they live. Upon approval of the application, the sheriff will issue the applicant a permit which will allow them to transport and sell non-ferrous metals to a recycler.

To obtain a 48-hour permit, a person must call the sheriff in the town where they live. The person making the phone call will then be given a permit number good for the transporting and sale of non-ferrous metals for 48 hours.

Non-residents of the state of South Carolina may obtain either permit from the Sheriff of the County where the scrap metal dealer is located.

Any person or business that intends to purchase copper or catalytic converters must obtain a "permit to purchase" from the sheriff's office in the county where they do business. There is a $200 fee for the "permit to purchase" and must be renewed every two years.

The new law goes into effect August 17, 2011.