KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Mayor Pro Tem Scott Wagner is proposing an ordinance to add several changes to stifle criminals selling stolen items.
Some of the regulations include eliminating cash payments and instead offering checks or cards for the customers to be paid. Another part of the ordinance would extend the wait period for those cash payments from instant to three days to make sure the products are not bought illegally.
“Our desire is to hopefully make things a bit more difficult for people who are in those businesses for the wrong reasons or doing the wrong part of that business,” said Wagner.
Many of the criminals stealing these items take them from abandoned houses and hope to make a profit.
“So it’s not about quick cash anymore but more about that delayed gratification which for those who may be looking at it for quick cash by changing the way this is modeled we hope to persuade people from getting into those activities,” said Wagner.
Since 2012 customers could sell a car 10-years and older without owning a title to the vehicle, and since that decision made by the state, law enforcement has seen a spike in crimes.
“The removal of that requirement to show that title led to a huge increase in auto thefts not only in Missouri but in other states as well because now you are able to take that vehicle 10 years old or older from other states and bring it into a salvage yard in Missouri,” said Missouri Highway Patrol Corporal Nate Bradley.
Numerous neighborhood organizations spoke in favor of Wagner’s ordinance.
“We’ve seen hundreds of them traveling down the street every day with shopping carts, baby strollers, backpacks they all got wire cutters breaking into places not only at night but all day every day,” said Robert Ontman.
Ontman said he was hit in the head by someone trying to steal.
“Right in front of my house, I was brutally attacked by one of them trying to tear apart a TV in my driveway waiting for the bulk pickup," Ontman said.
While the scrap yards agree something needs to be done about vandalism, they argue this ordinance isn’t the way to go.
“Affects a mass group of people, many of them honest people who use scraps to subsidize their income or put food on their table,” said KC Iron and Metal Inc. Owner Sanford Levine.
Another reason Levine is opposed to this ordinance is he claims about 10 percent of Kansas Citians do not have bank accounts.
“What you’re doing is you’re dispersing commerce, the theft will continue,” said Levine.
The committee delayed this ordinance discussion for three weeks to give scrap yard owners time to look it over.