Gary Bartlett of Ellice Recycle holds a form filled out each time sellers bring in scrap metal to the yard.

Police hope proposed legislation deters theft

Saanich Police are hoping that new legislation will help curb a growing criminal problem in the Capital Region.

Saanich Police are hoping that new legislation proposed by the provincial government will help curb a growing criminal problem in the Capital Region.

Metal thefts are on the rise, thanks in part to the high value of materials such as copper and aluminum. Phone lines, which are made with copper wire, are among the more popular targets, but increasingly police are seeing other materials being taken.

“We saw one case where there was a break-in and a number of brass fittings were stolen,” said Saanich police Sgt. Dean Jantzen. “That’s exactly the type of thing this legislation could help deal with.”

Saanich Police have handled 15 cases this year in which metal products were the primary target. That’s up from just five a year ago.

The problem with metal thefts, said Jantzen, is that they can create a nuisance — and potentially a serious risk — for the general public. When phone lines are damaged by thieves, for example, communication systems are compromised, cutting people off from vital emergency services.

“When lines go down, 911 goes down,” said Jantzen. “If all you have is a house phone, you can’t dial 911.”

In another recent case, thieves made off with a large number of sewer grates from a stretch of the Pat Bay Highway, creating a hazardous situation for drivers and cyclists.

Part of the reason metal products are so attractive to thieves is that they can be sold to scrap dealers with little to no scrutiny, something which the new legislation is aimed at stopping.

Under Bill 13, the Metal Dealers and Recyclers Act, scrap dealers will have to keep records of the type and weight of metals they purchase, any distinguishing marks, and where the seller says they got it. That information is to be shared with law enforcement on a daily basis, and the records are to be kept for at least one year.

Dealers will also be required to maintain a registry of sellers’ personal information, including their name, address, phone number and date of birth. To protect their privacy, each seller will be assigned a unique code. The only way that their personal info will be released to police is with a court order.

At least one local scrap dealer welcomes the new legislation.

“Most of the things in this (legislation), we already do,” said Gary Bartlett, general manager of Victoria-based Ellice Recycle. “We already check IDs, we take pictures, we itemize everything. To me it’s business as usual.”

What will change, Bartlett hopes, is the public’s perception of the industry.

editor@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Renowned Oak Bay floral arranger debuts first book

Instagram star Christin Geall combines photography, floral arrangements

UPDATED: Bear spotted walking on sidewalk near Uptown

Urban sightings prompt warnings from Saanich Police Department

Victoria police make arrest in connection to string of James Bay fires

50-year-old man faces recommended arson charges for May 14 fires

Unleashed pups not permitted in some Saanich parks

Residents reminded of summer dog restrictions within district

Colwood drive-thru window smashed after suspect receives burger without mustard

Wendy’s staff call police after man allegedly rips Plexiglas barrier off window

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

POLL: Are you sending your children back to school this month?

Classrooms looked decidedly different when students headed back to school for the… Continue reading

B.C. ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Murder charge upgraded in George Floyd case, 3 other cops charged

Floyd’s family and protesters have repeatedly called for criminal charges against all four officers

Friendly Cove and Kyuquot will remain closed until further notice

Transition of other B.C. communities will be monitored before a decision to ease restrictions

Racist incident shocks Vancouver Island First Nation

Port Alberni RCMP investigating after video shows truck wheeling through Tseshaht territory

Gold River organizes a shop local initiative to creatively boost economy

Local purchases can earn shoppers $200 gift certificates to be spent on businesses within Gold River

Young killer whale untangles itself from trap line off Nanaimo shore

DFO marine mammal rescue unit was en route as whale broke free from prawn trap line

Most Read