Air conditioning theft? South Carolina passes new law.

Air conditioning units and farm irrigation systems are being targeted by thieves for their copper. South Carolina governor signs new law that prohibits recyclers from buying copper for cash.

Richard Shiro/AP/File
Govenor Nikki Haley (pictured here May 5, 2011, talking to the media outside the grand ballroom of the Hyatt Regency in Greenville, S.C.) has signed into a law a measure aimed at curbing the theft of copper from air conditioning and farm irrigation systems.

COLUMBIA, S.C. – A South Carolina measure meant to discourage thieves from gutting air conditioning units and farm irrigation systems to resell the copper has been signed into law.

Gov. Nikki Haley signed the law Friday. It takes effect in 60 days.

The bill bars metal recyclers from handing out cash for copper. Instead, they must pay using checks, which can be traced.

It requires sellers to obtain free permits from local law enforcement to sell copper. Recyclers are barred from buying copper from anyone who doesn't have a permit.

Recyclers are also required to record information on each sale, including the seller's photograph, a copy of the permit and the license plate number.

Supporters say thieves are destroying property for a few dollars' worth of copper.

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