An increase in copper thefts may prompt action by state lawmakers.

Copper prices have been rising, and that's making the metal a target for thieves who are stealing wiring from utility poles and storage areas. State Representative Marlin Schneider (D-Wisconsin Rapids) is introducing legislation which would increase penalties for stealing metal. It also requires dealers to keep track of who sells what to them, in order to help lawmakers track down thieves.

The bill would create penalties of up to three and a half years in prison and fines of up to $10,000 for the sale or purchase of stolen scrap metal.

AUDIO: John Colbert reports (MP3 :34)

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