Ohio city ready to toughen scrap metal sales rules

DAN SEWELL Associated Press Published:

CINCINNATI (AP) -- An Ohio city is preparing to adopt tough new restrictions on scrap metal sales aimed at curbing theft problems.

Cincinnati city council could vote as soon as Wednesday afternoon's meeting on proposed rules that legislative experts say would be among the nation's strictest. They would require frequent sellers to obtain licenses, pass criminal background checks and wait two days to get paid.

City officials say they are trying to deter would-be thieves. High prices for copper and other metals, combined with a struggling economy, have spurred metal thefts locally and globally.

Opponents say the move is an overreaction that will hurt honest metal vendors and dealers, send legitimate sales outside the city, and undermine recycling efforts. Some people say they depend on legal "scrapping" to support their families.