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Tulsa Police Want Stricter Scrap Metal Dealer Law

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Tulsa Police Department Cpl. Craig Johnson shows what brand new copper wire looks like Tulsa Police Department Cpl. Craig Johnson shows what brand new copper wire looks like
TULSA, Oklahoma -

Copper theft is an ongoing problem that leads to other issues like unlit street lights and dark highways. 

This week, someone stole hundreds of pounds of copper wire from PSO. 

That has police turning their attention to those who are buying the stolen wire from the thieves and they want the law changed. 

Police said someone stole $30,000 worth of brand new copper wire from one location. 

The task force immediately emailed all the area scrap metal dealers with pictures, notifying them to be on the lookout. But, within an hour, one of those dealers had bought it. 

The police can't do anything because technically, that dealer followed the law, which is why police say, that law needs to be changed.

Police said you can tell the wire is new because it's still bright and shiny, unlike wire that's been energized, that tarnishes.

The dealer bought 300 pounds of it and paid $800 dollars but, it cost AEP $30,000. It was stamped 'property of AEP' and the lot number on the outside but the thief stripped that off before selling it.

News On 6 asked TPD, would someone sell 300 pounds of shiny bare bright copper this thick and sell it if it wasn't stolen?

"I can't think of a reason you would," said Cpl. Craig Johnson, TPD Task force.

Police couldn't go to the dealer to identify the copper as AEP's because the dealer already sent it out to be melted.

The dealer did take a picture of it as required, but it was such low quality, police couldn't make an ID that would stand up in court.

"As it stands right now, they did not violate any law," Johnson said. 

The law says dealers either must hold the wire for 10 days or take a picture of it and the picture has to be around 600 pixels, which is low quality.  Police want the law changed back to what it used to be, requiring dealers hold the wire for 10 days, just like pawn shops do.

Whether the wire gets stolen from AEP or PSO or city street lights, the fact is, all the costs eventually ends up with taxpayers footing the bill. 

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