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Back to Scrap Laws Arkansas Metal Scrap Statute
Current as of June 2, 2015

The State Metals Theft Laws summaries are not intended to provide or be relied as a legal advice. This material is provided to serve as a reasonable compilation of the most current state scrap laws and is intended to be a resource or supplement to, and provide ideas for, compliance with all applicable laws. The ISRI State Scrap Laws are subject to change and readers should visit http://www.isri.org/metalstheftdb to make certain they are reading the most recent version of ISRI's summaries of the State Metals Theft Laws
Overview of Provisions (use the section titles to travel directly to that section)

Please Note: Amendments by 2015 Arkansas SB 459, effective 90 days after the session adjourns, are included and noted in this summary.

Materials Covered and Other Definitions

"Scrap Metal" means bits and pieces of metal parts that may be combined together with bolts or soldering and can be recycled when worn or superfluous.

"Nonferrous Metal" means a metal that does not contain significant quantities of iron or steel, including without limitation the following metals and their alloys: copper; brass;aluminum; bronze; lead; zinc; and nickel.

"Scrap Metal Recycler" means any person that purchases Scrap Metal, but does not include a person that only buys in quantities of 5,000 lbs. or more.

"Scrap Metal Processor" means a person that, from a fixed location, engages in the business of using machinery or equipment for the processing or manufacturing of iron, steel, or Nonferrous Metal scrap;

"Seller" means any person that receives in a transaction monetary consideration from a Recycler in exchange for Nonferrous Metal, iron, or steel, but does not include a person that sells Scrap Metal generated in a manufacturing or production process and sold to a Recycler under a contract or an agreement.

(amended by SB 459) As used in Section 5-36-123 and Section 5-36-124:

  • "Scrap Metal" means copper, copper alloy, copper utility wire, any bronze, or any aluminum as described in Section  17-44-101 et seq.;
  • "Building Material" means Scrap Metal used in the construction or rebuilding of a building or structure.
  • "Public Safety Device" includes, but is not limited to, a traffic-signaling device or a railroad-crossing device.
  • "Utility" means any person or entity providing to the public gas, electricity, water,sewer, telephone, telegraph, radio, radio common carrier, railway, railroad, cable and broadcast television, video, or Internet services;
  • "Utility Property" means any component that is reasonably necessary to provide utility services, including without limitation any wire, pole, facility, machinery, tool,equipment, cable, insulator, switch, signal, duct, fiber optic cable, conduit, plant,work, system, substation, transmission or distribution structure, line, street lighting fixture, generating plant, equipment, pipe, main, transformer, underground line, gas compressor, meter, or any other building or structure or part of a building or structure that a utility uses in the production or use of its services;
  • "Permitted Construction Site" means the site of construction, alteration, painting, or repair of a building or a structure for which a building permit has been issued by a city of the first class, a city of the second class, an incorporated town, or a county;
  • "Public Safety Agency" means an agency of the State of Arkansas or a functional division of a political subdivision that provides firefighting and rescue; response to natural or human-caused disaster or a major emergency; law enforcement; or ambulance or emergency medical services.

The Recordkeeping and Reporting provisions exempt transactions:

  • Between metal processors if the purchaser or transferee obtained a bill of sale;
  • Involving only beverage or food containers; or
  • Involving only ferrous metals.

The Theft Notification provision exempts transactions involving only beverage containers.


A Recycler's must keep two types of records: the "Reasonable, Written Documentation of Ownership" by the Seller; and Transaction Records. Records must be in paper, electronic,or another method of storing information.

Reasonable, Written Documentation of Ownership

A Seller shall not sell and a Recycler shall not purchase Scrap Metal unless the Seller provides "reasonable, written documentation" that the Seller is the owner or is authorized to sell on the owner's behalf. The documentation must include the following information:

  • The name of the entity or individual from whom the Seller acquired the metal;
  • The date the Seller acquired the Scrap Metal;
  • The physical address from where the Seller acquired the metal;
  • Affirmations or certifications that the Seller:

          Is the owner of the Scrap Metal or is the employer, agent, licensed contractor,licensed HVACR, plumber, electrician, or other person authorized to sell on behalf of the owner; and

          Has not pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to or been found guilty of theft,burglary, or vandalism involving Scrap Metal.

Transaction Records

Recyclers must record the following for each Scrap Metal transaction, except that individual records are not required for a series of transactions made under a contract.Information for repeat Sellers may be saved and referred to for future transactions.

  • The name, address, gender, birth date, and identifying number from the seller’s government-issued photo identification;
  • A photocopy of the Seller's government-issued photo identification;
  • The date of the Scrap Metal purchase transaction;
  • The digital thumbprints of the seller;
  • A general description of the predominant types of scrap metal purchased made in accordance with the custom of the trade, the configuration of the scrap metal,whether the material is insulated, and the weight, quantity, or volume;
  • The consideration paid;
  • The license plate number of the vehicle used in transporting the materials;
  • A date and time-stamped digital photograph of the Seller and of the Scrap Metal recorded with the name of the person taking the photographs.
No Purchase from Minors

A Recycler may not purchase Scrap Metal claimed by a minor unless accompanied by a parent or guardian. The Recycler must record a written statement that the transaction is taking place with the parent or guardian's full knowledge and consent.


Records must be retained for 1 year. A written statement of consent by a parent or guardian to a purchase from a minor must be retained for 3 years.


Records and statements of parental consent must be made available to any State, municipal, or county law enforcement officer and for use in any legal proceeding.


A Recycler must file a daily electronic report of Scrap Metal purchases, consisting of the"reasonable, written documentation" and transaction record. The information must be entered into an automated database which may be accessed by law enforcement.Municipalities may require electronic records and reporting by ordinance.

The database operator shall send a report every 7 days to the county sheriffs and to any law enforcement agency that requests periodic copies more frequently than 7 days. The report shall list all Recyclers in the country that have accessed or have access to the database but have not filed a daily report as required.

Theft Notification

Any person may notify a Recycler of a known or presumed theft of Nonferrous Metal, with the notice setting forth any available information including the following:

  • The approximate quantity and size of the Nonferrous Metal stolen;
  • The geographic area from which the metal was reported missing or stolen; and
  • Any distinguishing marks or other method of identification.

If metal meeting the description is purchased by or offered for sale to the Recycler within 90 days of a notice, then the Recycler must notify law enforcement of the purchase or offer.


A Recycler must be licensed by the county sheriff. Licenses are valid for 1 year, with an initial fee of $250 and a renewal fee of $25 (fees do not apply to not-for-profit dealers or recyclers), usable for the sheriff's general operating expenses. An applicant must:

  • Have a fixed location with a full complement of permanent utilities, if applicable,including without limitation water; sewer; electricity; and gas;
  • Show proof of a required national pollution discharge elimination system stormwater permit issued by Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality; and
  • Have the ability to comply with the Reporting provision.

A person convicted of Theft of Scrap Metal is forever prohibited from selling Scrap Metal.

Violations of the law are subject to civil penalties of up to $1000 per violation, except that:

  • Knowingly giving false information for the records is a Class A misdemeanor;
  • A second offense of the Reporting provision is a Class A misdemeanor;
  • A 3rd or subsequent offense of the Reporting provision is a Class D felony.

A Recycler's license may be suspended or revoked by a court with jurisdiction for failure to comply with the License provision.

 (italicized text added by SB 459) A person commits Theft of Scrap Metal (Section 5-36-123) if the person commits, aids, or is an accomplice to a theft of property involving Scrap Metal. Theft of Scrap Metal is a:

Class B felony if

  • The value of the property is $25,000 or more;
  • The property is obtained by the threat of serious physical injury to any person
  • The property is obtained by threat and the actor stands in a confidential or fiduciary relationship to the person threatened; or

Class C felony if:

  • The value of the property is less than $25,000 but more than $5,000;
  • The property is obtained by threat;
  • The property is Building Material obtained from a Permitted Construction Site and the value is $500 or more; or
  • The value is $500 or more and the theft occurred in an area declared under a state of emergency by the President, the Governor, or the executive officer of a city or county;

Class D felony if:

  • The value of the property is $5,000 or less but more than $1,000;
  • The value of the property is at least $100 but less than $500 and the theft occurred in an area declared under a state of emergency by the President, the Governor, or the executive officer of a city or county; or
  • The property is an apparatus connected to a farm shop, on-farm grain drying and storage complex, heating and cooling system, environmental control system, animal production facility, irrigation system, or dwelling;

Class A misdemeanor if:

  • The value of the property is $1,000 or less; or
  •  The property has inherent, subjective, or idiosyncratic value to its owner or possessor even if the property has no market value or replacement cost

The penalty is enhanced so that there is a mandatory fine of $5,000 to $50,000 and the offense is a Class D felony if it otherwise would have been a Class A misdemeanor if, upon proclamation of a state of emergency and for a period of 30 days following, the property is:

  • A generator intended for use by a public facility, a nursing home or hospital, a Public Safety Device, a communication tower or facility, a public utility, a water system or sewer system, a Public Safety Agency, or any other facility or entity providing a vital service; or
  • Any other equipment used in the transmission of electric power or telephone service

Upon conviction, the classification and penalty range is increased one step if:

  • The total amount of money damages suffered by the owner of the Scrap Metal as a direct result of the theft, including lost income, lost profits, and costs of repair or replacement of property damage, was greater than $250; or
  • The person transported the Scrap Metal across state lines to sell or dispose of it.

A person commits Theft by Receiving of Scrap Metal (Section 5-36-124) if the person receives,retains, purchases, or disposes of Scrap Metal if the person knows or should have known the Scrap Metal was stolen, punishable as a:

  • Class A misdemeanor; or

A Class D felony if:

  • The value is more than $1,000, or
  • It is a second or subsequent offense;

The following crimes are subject to an additional 5 years imprisonment if the stolen or damaged property involves Nonferrous Metals:

  • Theft by Receiving (Section  5-36-106)
  • A felony offense of Theft by Receiving of Scrap Metal (Section  5-36-124)
  • Criminal Mischief in the 1st Degree (Section  5-38-203)
  • A felony offense of Criminal Mischief in the 2nd Degree (Section  5-38-204)

©2016. The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. All rights reserved.

This summary of State Metals Theft Laws is being viewed on this website under license and is owned and copyrighted by Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. ("ISRI"),1615 L Street, N.W., Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036.