- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 20, 2015

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Scrap thieves who do more than $5,000 worth of damage when stealing valuable metals would face jail time under a bill before the Kansas House.

The chamber was set to vote Wednesday on the measure, which also would create a system to track scrap through dealers.

Supporters of the bill say tougher penalties are needed because scrap thieves often do thousands of dollars in damage to worksites and agricultural equipment. Farm organizations testified that the damage frequently hurts crops and cattle because it can take days or weeks to repair.

Some lawmakers expressed concern that the bill could increase the state’s already overcapacity prison population by 20 to 57 prisoners by 2025.

The bill has been approved by the Senate.

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