Mid-South AGs attend panel battling copper theft - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Mid-South AGs attend panel battling copper theft

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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DOWNTOWN MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Attorneys general from the Mid-South gathered in Memphis Monday afternoon to discuss how they can work together to fight copper theft. All say it's a major problem in the Mississippi Delta.

Mississippi AG Jim Hood organized this meeting at the Donnelly J. Hill State Office Building in Downtown Memphis. Police officers, prosecutors and other law enforcement officials from the Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee and the Louisiana Attorney General's Office were all part of the discussion.

The group got together to talk about what everyone is doing to attack the problem of copper and metal theft. But they were also meeting to discuss what's working, what's not, and what can be done better across all of the states.

Scrap metal theft has become a major problem in recent years where criminals are stealing copper and other metals from businesses, construction sites, vehicles, homes, and even schools.

Those criminals are selling the metal for a fraction of what it costs to replace it. The problem is costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in some cases.

Tennessee passed tough laws back in 2008 to combat the problem and the Volunteer State now requires identification information from sellers and scrap metal recyclers have to go through a registration process.
 
Mississippi has similar laws.

The top law enforcement officials from around the Mid-South are looking at what else can be done.
 
"It's an area I think that we should try to coordinate in our states on," said Mississippi AG Hood.

"We have to give our law enforcement better tools with which to combat that," added Arkansas AG Dustin McDaniel. "We have to give our prosecutors better tools with which to punish that but also we have to think outside the box."

"This is something that we think all three states can work together on to help address," said Tennessee AG Robert Cooper.

Arkansas Agriculture Secretary Butch Calhoun also attended the panel discussion, along with other representatives from Arkansas' agriculture and law enforcement communities.

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