EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSBILL TARGETING COPPER THEFT
from Eyewitness News Online
Proposed Bill Aimed At Lowering Copper Theft
Reported by: Kristin Keeling
Web Producer: Kristin Keeling
Reported: Feb. 25, 2012 6:17 PM EST
Updated: Feb. 25, 2012 6:59 PM EST
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
From phone lines, to homes, to even churches. Nothing is off limits to copper thieves looking to make a quick buck. And the problem is plaguing all areas of West Virginia.
For police, it's hard to keep it under control, and it's even more difficult to keep the thieves locked up.
New legislation to make things harder on copper thieves in being pushed though the State Senate. It will prohibit the possession of stolen scrap metal and it will "up" the fines for thieves.
For Judy Lupson, the proposed bill hits close to home. Her son, Steve was electrocuted to death last spring while trying to steal copper in Boone County.
"We expected it because we knew he was on drugs so bad. But whenever it actually happens, it rips your heart out. I've had a lot of trouble dealing with it," said Judy Lupson.
Steve's wife was allegedly with him on that fateful day. She was arrested. But to Judy, her punishment was not enough. "She did a month in jail for it. When they're out there doing it, they don't seem like they care. Steve didn't. He was an electrician. He knew about electric, but he did it anyway."
So desperate, Steve and others...willing to put their lives at risk. But Judy is hopeful the new bill would make people think twice before even taking that chance, knowing the punishment wouldn't be worth the crime.
"Think about what you're doing. Is that really how you want to end your life? If you cut into a line, you might not make it. My son didn't," said Lupson.
Scrap metal industries aren't on board with the bill. It would require scrap yards to pay sellers with checks instead of cash and some buyers are afraid their customers won't have bank accounts to cash those checks.
The bill has passed through committee and is now headed to the full Senate.
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