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Fresno Hearing Seeks Solutions to Ag Metal Theft

Agricultural metal theft continues to be a problem in the valley, and Sacramento lawmakers are paying attention. The Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing today in Downtown Fresno searching for solutions.

Four years ago, the state legislature passed a bill by then Assembly member Tom Berryhill that aimed to crack down on the theft of metal from farmers. The bill required recyclers to keep detailed records on materials and sellers.

But despite those efforts, metal theft remains a problem. Now a member of the State Senate, Berryhill spoke today with local law enforcement officials in order to understand what changes should be made to reduce thefts. Fresno County District Attorney, Elizabeth Egan, had some suggestions.

We have to keep this task force operation going, where we meet with the other seven or eight counties, all the time the detectives working across the border, all the time being able to pull in those resources for these operations, all up and down this valley. It's an incredibly effective and unique law enforcement operation.

While no action was taken during today's hearing, Berryhill said he will seek out the opinions of law enforcement, recyclers, and victims in order to see what solutions can be reached.

Gabriela Ornelas is a news intern with Valley Public Radio.