For Immediate Release - November 15, 2011

AG Coakley Commends House Passage of Legislation to Address Abandoned Properties, Copper Theft

BOSTON – Today, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed new legislation to address abandoned housing and secondary metals dealing. In January, Attorney General Martha Coakley filed An Act Regulating Secondary Metals Dealing, co-sponsored by Senator James E. Timilty.

The bill addresses the illegal stripping and dealing of metal in the Commonwealth through mandated licensure and other record-keeping requirements. By allowing for more accurate record keeping and tracking of items and their sellers, it serves as a deterrent to potential thieves and assists law enforcement in ensuring that stolen metals are more easily recovered.  It also establishes an Abandoned Property Registry that will allow municipalities to know who owns a particular abandoned property, thereby ensuring effective enforcement of health and safety code and other violations of the law.

            AG Coakley issued the following statement:

“The growth of abandoned properties and the skyrocketing value of metals have undermined public safety in our communities.  Lack of proper registration and oversight has made it too easy for thieves to strip out the copper and other metals, realizing profits from the vandalization of property and even the desecration of memorials.  The House’s action today moves us one step closer to implementing a strong regulatory scheme for scrap metal dealings so that we can better deter theft and assist law enforcement in holding thieves accountable.  Identifying the owners of abandoned properties is one of the greatest hurdles communities face in rehabilitating vacant properties, and this bill’s establishment of an abandoned properties registry will greatly assist those efforts.”