Adams Scrap Recycling crushes and sells cars for scraps. (July 10, 2012/FOX Carolina)
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -
Scrap yards have become a common way to make a few dollars by selling junk metal or broken down cars.
Upstate law enforcement officers have found it's also a way for car thieves to make a quick buck.
Now, there's a new law in South Carolina that should make it harder for crooks to sell cars for scrap.
Until June 25, people could sell cars for scrap without a title if the vehicle was more than 8 years old. Law enforcement said that made it too easy for criminals.
After breaking down on Interstate 85, Donnie Holder, of Williamston, got a ride home, but came back in the morning to find no car. He said he filed a missing vehicle report for the 1997 Chevy Cavalier in Anderson County, and within a week, Greenville County did some digging and found the car at a scrap yard.
Holder said Adams Scrap Recycling had record of his car's VIN number being demolished around the same time he went to pick up his car.
Greenville Sheriff's Department said the scrap yard didn't do anything wrong at the time. Since the car was older, the yard didn't need sellers to prove they owned it. Those sellers, though, did need to show ID, which later helped investigators identify who stole Holder's car.
The sheriff's department said they've seen too many of these stolen cars sold for scrap in the last few years, as has Sen. Larry Martin, of Pickens. He co-sponsored amendments to the scrap yard law that went into effect in June.
"That eight-year provision was sort of enabling these crooks to steal a perfectly good vehicle, take them to a crusher with no title and get $400 to $500," said Martin.
Now, along with proving ownership for a car less than 12 years old, anyone selling an older car needs to sign an affidavit promising they own it. Scrap yards have to search national stolen car databases when they receive a car and wait at least three days to crush a car.
Martin said the DMV is working to create a portal on their website to make it easy for scrap yards to do a quick check to find out if the car is stolen before they crush it.
Copyright 2012 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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