Reports of copper theft have been widespread in Southern West Virginia, particularly in Cabell, Fayette, Logan, Mason and Mingo counties.
Thieves frequently target copper wire inside telephone cables. The thefts have disrupted phone service for thousands of customers.
The legislation also targets the sale of catalytic converters to scrap dealers. Thieves cut the emissions control devices from underneath vehicles.
People who sell five or more catalytic converters to scrap dealers would have to sign paperwork and submit a fingerprint to document the sale, according to the bill.
West Virginia auto dealers have reported a rash of catalytic converter thefts from vehicles on their lots.
The copper theft bill next goes to the full Senate.
Reach Eric Eyre at erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.