Hines wants statewide database to track scrap metal sales

MILWAUKEE -- A giant loophole in the law lets scrap metal thieves sell their stolen goods without ever being caught, but that loophole is about to be closed.

Pastor Warren Kirkendoll of the Church of the One Lost Sheep is struggling to defend his church's air-conditioning units. Thieves come in, rip out the copper piping, and sell it to a scrapyard. "I've been hit five times. In fact, just two weeks ago was the last time I was hit. It's very costly. I've got razor wire up there, I got a fence, I got everything. I'm trying to prevent this, but it's going to take something more," Kirkendoll said.

Milwaukee Common Council President Willie Hines is working on legislation that would put together a data bank system, so when you bring (scrap metal) to Tosa or to Milwaukee, it is consistent, and can be tracked.

Hines says his proposed system would eliminate a massive loophole in the scrap metal business. Right now, if a person steals items in Milwaukee, such as a church air-conditioning unit, Hines says they can sell the unit in Wauwatosa without being tracked. A statewide database would prevent that. "You would have to leave your name, your address. They would take a picture of you and make certain record keeping is there," Hines said.

Milwaukee city leaders want more scrap metal sale restrictions. Currently, the city has a list of items that require extra steps to sell - like having the seller's picture taken. The expanded list is currently being worked on.