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Langley tops in Lower Mainland for metal theft

Langley accounts for 40 per cent of all cases of metal theft in the Lower Mainland, and now Township council is planning to toughen its bylaw so that it could become a prototype for the rest of the region.

The information about Langley’s role in metal theft was revealed by Langley RCMP Sgt. Rick Burns at the Feb. 16 Community Safety Advisory Committee meeting.

Burns said that as metal prices rise, so do the number of thefts which typically occur when thieves steal copper inside phone and electricity cables. Metal is also being stolen from aluminum railings, park bleachers, sprinkler heads, railroad spikes, metal grates, grave markers and plaques.

The cost to taxpayers is not insignificant as they must foot the bill for police investigations, the cost of repairs and replacement, court time and insurance, Burns said.

Most municipalities have bylaws which attempt to monitor how and where the stolen metal is recycled. But Burns said that a provincial bylaw is required so that all municipalities work under the same guidelines.

He noted that many communities in the U.S. have very strict bylaws which require buyers to record information about the seller, take videos and mail sellers their money instead of providing instant cash for scrap metal.

On Monday, council endorsed a motion proposed by Councillor Mel Kositsky calling for a new bylaw to be drafted by May that will explore a tougher approach, possibly including the use of a daily electronic recording and reporting information system, such as the Xtract system used in the City of Vancouver.

The motion also calls on the Lower Mainland Local Government Association and the Union of B.C. Municipalities to advocate on behalf of member municipalities a provincial bylaw to regulate pawnshops, dealers of second hand goods, and recyclers.

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