New law changes junk car process

Published 10:56 pm Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Thinking to making a quick buck off those junk cars left to rust the in back 40?

Well, make sure you’ve got the proper paperwork before heading to the scrap yard.

Andalusia Police Chief Wilbur Williams said new regulations are now in effect governing how scrap metal processors can accept vehicles.

“This law was signed into effect in April to close a loophole often used by car thieves to hide their theft,” Williams said. “As of June 1, scrap metal companies can no longer take possession of a vehicle manufactured in 1975 or later without first getting its most current certificate of title.”

Williams said he hopes the new legislation will help to slow down a recent rash of auto thefts in the city.

“We have no way of knowing just how many vehicles have been stolen and taken to the crusher,” he said. “Up until recently, all a person had to do was drive that vehicle up on the scales and say, “I want to scrap it,’ without (the company) requiring a title transfer.”

He said in one recent situation, a local resident, who was driving a late model Chevrolet, ran out of gas. He left the vehicle on the side of the road, and by the time he returned with a gas can, it was gone.

“Shortly after he left, a couple of thugs pushed it up onto a trailer and hauled it off to the scrap yard,” he said. “They got $303 for it, and that man is out a vehicle. This could have been avoided, and other similar situations like it, if the company would have made those people produce a title.”

The scrap metal companies are also required to maintain records for five years of every vehicle they obtain for this purpose. Those titles will be forwarded to the Department of Revenue to cancel the vehicle’s title. To violate this law is a Class A misdemeanor.

Williams said local residents should also be aware of the change.

“A lot of times people are cleaning off property and decide to haul off these vehicles for scrap,” he said. “They just need to make sure they have the right paperwork done before they go, so it will save them time and possibly another trip.”