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Tips to Prevent Metals Theft

Metals theft poses a danger to communities across the country. In recognition of this year’s National Crime Prevention Month (October), Scrapyard Pro offers the following tips for preventing metals theft:

  • To prevent the removal and stripping of air conditioning units of their metal coils, property owners may enclose their unit in a wire cage affixed to the mounting pad.
  • Property owners can also prevent the theft of AC units by padlocking their power disconnect box with a quality disc type padlock. This type of lock makes it difficult, if not impossible to cut the lock quickly with bolt cutters. Home improvement stores offer many brands of these locks for under $20.
  • A commercially available alarm product that monitors refrigerant pressure, line and load voltage is also available to address the theft of AC units.
  • To prevent theft of plumbing pipes and wiring, ensure that all crawl space openings are secured with tamper resistant screws.
  • To protect vacant houses, keep the electric current on, leave certain lights on and make law enforcement officials aware of the building’s status.
  • Locations that have metals stored outside in or out of fenced lots should move the items to storage inside a secured structure.
  • Local law enforcement may assist in patterned attacks through placement of mobile hidden surveillance cameras when analysis of data indicates a likely crime, and permission of property owners is obtained. Even inexpensive trail cams may be used for this purpose if cost is an issue.
  • A new technology that is being employed to allow for identification of stolen wiring is the application of specific identifying markings on wiring insulation, laser etched wiring, and markings of other kinds. Identification is essential in building stronger cases and prosecution.
  • Metals theft is not a victimless crime. It has caused property damage, injury, and even death. Recyclers work closely with law enforcement to prevent this serious crime and to catch thieves.

Scrapyard Pro is a member of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), the Voice of the Recycling Industry™. ISRI developed and operates, a free web-based alert system that connects law enforcement communities and scrap yard operators in the investigation and prevention of materials theft.

Law enforcement officials can post information about stolen scrap materials or materials that have been stolen by thieves that could be sold for scrap. The reports are turned into alerts that are then broadcast over the Internet to all member scrap yards within a 200 mile radius. has contributed to the recovery of $1.6 million of property by distributing 15,456 alerts among 18,361 active users since 2009.

ISRI also offers law enforcement training involving education on recycling facility operations, state laws, and metals theft identification. Go to for additional information from ISRI, including tools for law enforcement, prosecutors and state legislators.


Texas Scrap Metal Laws Changing

Texas metal recycling entitites (MREs) will soon have to start issuing transaction cards to pay customers by cash or debit card.

As of Sept. 1, 2015, Texas scrap yards must comply with the provisions of HB 2187, including the requirement that MREs issue cash transaction cards to their customers.

"Unless a seller had been issued a cash transaction card, a recycler is only able to pay for a purchase of regulated material by check, money order or electronic funds transfer," according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. Cards are non-transferable and MREs must keep copies of each application and a copy of each cash transaction card for two years.

DPS has developed the Application for Cash Transaction Card for use by MREs. It has also drafted proposed administrative rules and amendments, with the advice of the Texas Metals Advisory Committee.

Law changes that impact Metal Recycling Entities under Texas HB 2187 and the proposed administrative rules and amendments include the following:

  • Your records must include the amount of the purchase but you do not have to report it to the state.
  • You must keep a copy of: 
    • a) the seller's cash transaction card or approved application for a cash transaction card if you paid in cash; 
    • b) the debit card receipt and the seller's cash transaction card or approved application for a cash transaction card if you paid by debit card; or 
    • c) the check if you paid by check.
  • You can only pay in cash or by debit card if the seller has a valid cash transaction card issued by you or another metal recycling entity.
  • An application for a cash transaction card must include:
    • the applicant's name, address, sex and birth date; 
    • the identification number from their personal identification document;
    • a digital photograph of the applicant at the time of their application;
    • a clear and legible thumbprint of the applicant; and
    • the applicant's signature.
  • A cash transaction card must include:
    • the seller's name and address;
    • a digital photograph of the seller;
    • an identifying number that is unique to the individual card;
    • the card's expiration date, which may not be later than two years from when the card was issued or renewed; and
    • the name of the metal recycling entity issuing the card and their state issued registration number.
  • A cash transaction card must be laminated or made of a rigid plastic or other durable material that will preserve the legibility of the information contained on the card.
  • All information on a cash transaction card must be legible and in English. 

Watch these videos to see how ScrapyardPro can help you comply with Texas recycling laws:

Texas Cash Cards for Scrapyards

Texas Recycling Laws for State Reports

Or call us at (800) 405-3959 to learn how you can save time preparing Texas scrap cards and reporting purchases to the state.


Kansas Scrap Metal Database Nearer

Kansas scrap yards would have to report purchases to a new state database as soon as in 2020, per recently approved legislation.

Approved by state senators on March 27, Senate Bill No. 219 requires the Kansas Bureau of Investigation to create a database by Jan. 1, 2020. The legislation has been forward to the House of Representatives for consideration.

If the current legislation is enacted, Kansas scrap metal dealers would have to report to the state database information about materials purchased from individuals, including customer identification details and transaction data. SB 219 shifts the responsibility for creating and administering the database from the state’s attorney general to the KBI.

Though previously enacted legislation had required his office to run the database, Attorney General Derek Schmidt told the Senate Judiciary Committee that there haven’t been sufficient funds to do so, according to a Pratt Tribune article on shifting the Kansas scrap-metal database to the KBI.

Senators had proposed taxing scrap metal purchases to help fund the database. But they removed the taxing provisions before approving SB 219.

SB 219 also reduced the maximum annual state licensing fee for scrap metal dealers to $500 from $1,500. Provisions that would have required criminal background checks and fingerprinting of scrap metal dealers were removed as well, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported in an article on the Kansas scrap-metal dealer database.

SB 219 could be modified further in the House of Representatives. The Kansas legislature is scheduled to adjourn in early May.



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Our Story

We started 20 years ago as Web4Minds, a software development firm that provides custom solutions to meet our clients’ needs. One such client came to us four years ago to develop software to manage their scrapyards.

Upon receiving feedback from the client and working with dozens of others, we realized that we had created a product that stood out among the competition, so we brought our solution to the marketplace as Scrapyard Pro. It is now used at recycling centers across the country, by clients ranging from single-location owners to regional operators.