ROCK HILL, S.C.-- The laws to sell or buy scrap metals in North and South Carolina are quite different. While both states have laws that attempt to stop the sale of stolen goods by individuals or companies to salvage yards, it is much harder to do so in North Carolina.
In the Tarheel state you need to provide a state issued photo ID and also provide the salvage yard with the licensee number of their car as well as the location where they live and where they got the metals from.
"If someone comes to sell us scrap, regardless of what it is, they need to show their license the vehicle that brought it in," said Bruce Gilbert of Global Recycling on North Tryon Street in Charlotte. "We even take pictures of all the metals we get in.”
At Global Recycling all metals are also photographed as they are brought in.
"This way, if someone wants to check to see if they recognize a particular item, we have it on file," said Gilbert. "This helps ensure that we keep things in order. We keep in constant contact with police.”
In South Carolina, people who wish to buy or sell scrap metals have two options. They can obtain a one year permit, which allows them to buy and sell metals to salvage yards for a calendar year. But for those who want to sell a few items—like pipes from an old house—can call the sheriff's office by phone and get a 48-hour permit.
One man figured out that this was a way to get around the system.
Police said that Tekulve Jovar Meeks stole a ladder and sold it, along with some other scrap items, to Carolina Salvage on Porter Road. Police were able to catch Meeks shortly after the sale, only because someone saw him take the ladder from a man's house on Russell Street.
One salvage yard manager said criminals are getting wise to just telling the salvage yards a phony number when they sell the items.
"It's something we are looking into," said York county public information officer Trent Faris. "But we have to say overall numbers of stolen property are down since the laws were enacted.”
This December, the 48-hour law will go away, which authorities said will make it harder for scrap metal thieves to sell stolen metals.