Jamaica eyes penalties for scrap metal thieves

July 20, 2008 6:50:49 PM PDT
A Jamaican official says far tougher fines are needed to fight thieves plundering metal from construction sites, power lines and houses. Industry and Commerce Minister Karl Samuda said Sunday that anyone caught in possession of stolen scrap or attempting to illegally export recyclable copper and other metals should be fined up to about US$28,000. The current fine is US$50.

Parliament will take up the proposal in coming days.

In an effort to stop metal theft earlier this year Jamaica placed a monthlong ban on the export of all recyclable metals.

Metal thefts have skyrocketed across the globe because of high prices. Thieves cash in at scrap yards that recycle nonprecious metals.