Metal buyer moves in

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 16, 2008

NATCHEZ — On Wednesday a law aimed at deterring metal theft in Mississippi went into effect.

The new law takes aim at the process by which certain metals can be sold to scrap yards.

And one new business in the county that’s getting ready to open is preparing to deal with the new law.

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Natchez Metals, in partnership with Concordia Metals, is scheduled to open in early-September and the new metal sales law will impact their business.

Bubba Kaiser will be running the new business and said he’s ready to implement the new law.

To aid Kaiser in his efforts he’ll employ a $50,000 computer program called Scrap Dragon.

The system will photograph and catalog those selling metal, their identification cards, and the item to be sold.

“This will not impact 99.9 percent of our customers,” he said.

Adams County Sheriff’s Deputy Maj. Jody Waldrop said since most people selling scrap metal have not illegally obtained the metal, the law will not be a problem.

As mandated by the new law those selling scrap metal will be photographed with the metal they are selling and provide photo identification to the buyer.

However, Kaiser said when the law was originally introduced there was some confusion about the purchase process and what specifically could be purchased.

“We can still pay cash for metal,” Kaiser said. “That has not changed.”

What has changed is the metal he will be able to buy.

The new law will not allow Mississippi’s scrap metal buyers to purchase items like air conditioners, railroad track material, public utility lines and metal beer kegs unless the seller is also licensed to own them or is a purveyor of those products.

“If a guy shows up with 10 air conditioners in his truck and he doesn’t have a license for them, I know he’s not supposed to have them,” Kaiser said.

When a licensed seller does make a sale that person must wait three days to be paid and that payment must be made by check.

And while Kaiser and the owners of Concordia Metal said they are committed to working with local law enforcement, Kaiser said Adams County’s close proximity to the Louisiana border could be problematic.

Kaiser said since Louisiana does not have the same purchase restrictions with items like air conditioners, a seller could easily leave the state to sell their metal.

And while the new law is aimed slowing the theft those in the business say there is no way to fully stop it.

But Connie Brown, co-owner of Concordia Metal said the new law will go a long way to deter theft.

“We can stop it,” she said. “But (thieves) know about it. This is going to slow it down.”