New Mexico is targeting thieves stealing brass, bronze, copper, steel, metal beer kegs, catalytic converters from automobiles and even manhole covers.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security estimates criminals who steal metals are costing New Mexico businesses $1.5 million every month.
The problem is so out of hand that various legislators want to require secondhand metal dealers to be licensed by the state. Their theory is that tighter regulation of businesses may discourage thieves from stealing metals in the first place.
The Las Cruces Sun-News reports Gov. Susana Martinez has directed her licensing department to investigate ways to curtail metal thieves.
A lobbyist for CenturyLink says thieves who regularly swipe copper cable from business sites in New Mexico will cost the telecommunications company about $1 million this year.
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