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New regulations for metal dealers limit thieves' options

Copper thieves should find an alternate line of income, because new regulations for metal dealers and recyclers will seriously limit their ability to illegally hock their wares.

Const. Kris Clark of the Kelowna RCMP explained Monday that the Metal Dealers and Recyclers act came into effect July 23, and that will mean  buying and selling stolen metals without a serious paper trail will be tricky.

"Metal dealers and recyclers are required to report transactions to the police on a daily basis," said Clark.

"The Kelowna RCMP has already started working with local metal dealers and recyclers for that purpose. To maintain efficiency, a program that is already used by the Kelowna RCMP and local pawn shops will be further utilized, with all local dealers coming online by Aug. 15."

Ultimately the Act also allows for inspectors or police to inspect a metal dealer’s or recycler’s business premises and records, and also provides the ability to issue Violation Tickets for a number of offences with fines ranging from $100 to $500. If the circumstances warrant further action, police may refer the matter to Crown Counsel which could result in fines of up to $100,000, or $10,000 for a person.

All in all, it's good news to the City of Kelowna, which has haemorrhaged funds trying to make up for what was stolen in recent years.

Last year it cost them $150,000 to replace wires stolen out of lamp posts and the 2012 tally is at $100,000, said Joe Creron the director of civic operations.

"The electrical utility helps subsidize those costs, but it will cause an increase in rates," he said.

It's also a public safety issue.

Already this year one person has died as a result of touching exposed wires, and Creron said he feared children and other innocent passersby could suffer a similar fate.

"I suspect there are a lot of near misses," Creron said.

He explained that once thieves have gotten their way into a lamp standard, live wires are lethally exposed.

The city is currently investigating ways to stop that from happening, but that's a costly stop gap.

Stopping theft may be the best way forward.

Any suspicious activity should be reported to the RCMP at 250-762-3300, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at

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