Construction Site Theft to be a Felony

To fight an increase of copper and construction material thefts in Arkansas, the governor has signed into law three bills that will increase penalties for theft and require better recordkeeping by scrap metal recyclers.

House Bill 2361, now Act 693, classifies the theft of building materials valued at $2,500 or more, from a permitted construction site as a Class B felony, punishable by five to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. The law considers building materials as lumber, construction tools, windows, doors, copper tubing or wire, or any other material or good used in the construction or rebuilding of a building or a structure.

House Bill 2337 (Act 630) creates the offense of theft of scrap metal and increases the classification and penalty range for anyone whose theft of scrap metal causes more than $250 in damages or who transports the scrap metal across state lines to dispose of or sell. House Bill 2443 (Act 749) requires scrap metal dealers to keep records of all their scrap metal dealings, to help law enforcement with its investigation of thefts.