- Associated Press - Thursday, February 19, 2015

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Penalties for Kansas scrap theft would rise significantly under a bill passed unanimously by the state Senate.

Thursday’s move sends the measure to the state House for consideration.

Senators said during debate Wednesday that scrap thieves often do thousands of dollars in damage by removing metal components from equipment.

The bill would make scrap theft a level six felony, putting repeat offenders behind bars. It also would create a scrap database to help authorities track down offenders and punish dealers trading in stolen goods.

Lawmakers objected to an earlier version that would have made scrap theft a level five felony and put first-time offenders behind bars for 11 to 34 months. First-time offenders without prior convictions would get probation under the amended version.

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