News and Press

Alabama's Scrap Metal Law Beneficial in Reducing Copper Theft for State Properties

Alabama Lawmakers worked to crack down on the theft and sale of metal throughout Alabama in 2012, and their efforts worked to reduce copper theft for Alabama’s state properties.


House Bill 278, sponsored by Senator Ben Brooks from Mobile, was signed into law by Governor Robert Bentley in 2012.  The law set new requirements for sales of scrap metal and stiffer penalties for metal thieves.   Theft of scrap metal and transactions involving it were illegal before the bill’s passage, and under the revised law, scrap metal sellers must be photographed, provide a personal identification card and give information to identify their vehicles.  Purchasers of scrap metal must submit the information to a statewide database maintained by the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center and records of transactions must be kept onsite for at least one year from the date of sale.  Crimes can be classified as a Class B misdemeanor for the first offense, a Class A Misdemeanor for the second offense, and a Class C felony for the third and subsequent offense within a ten year period.


According to Ben Spillers, the Risk Manager for the Alabama Division of Risk Management, copper theft claims have dramatically decreased since the law was passed.   Just looking at the State Insurance Fund claims history for copper theft on state properties over the past four years, you can see the difference made from the new requirements and stronger penalties.



Year of Claim Report

Total Cost of Claims Relating to Copper Theft










In summary, passage of this bill has had a significant impact on lowering claims cost for the State Insurance Fund as well as reducing crime in our state.

For a copy of the law enacted by Alabama Act 2012-426, please visit the Alabama Secretary of State’s website (