Are Michigan lawmakers holding up legistlation that could help fight Detroit scrappers?

LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) - On the front lines of the fight to bring Detroit back, Pastor Keith Hill is finding himself in an uphill battle.

Since he bought a former DPS middle school in Brightmoor in May of 2012, it's been a repeated target for scrappers.

"It just makes you shake your head how someone could be so destructive. Yeah it's heartbreaking" says Hill.

Pastor Hill was hoping to start up a trade school and church but instead they took everything that wasn't nailed down including sinks, door handles and wiring.

Pastor Keith Hill says "I cried, literally cried. I could have immediately opened up this place but now it set me back 2 years."

But now as Pastor Hill picks up the pieces, as countless churches, schools and homes are stripped, the tide against scrappers is finally turning.

Critical to stopping them, Mayor Mike Duggan said in his State of the City address, is getting lawmakers in Lansing to pass one piece of legislation.

Two key points in the bill are that scrappers would have to wait three days to get paid by a check, that would be mailed to a real address, or wire transfer to a bank account. A 3-day hold is also up for debate.

"The crackheads and the heroine addicts and the others involved want the quick fix. If you can deny them quick money, we think you can go a long way towards solving this problem" says Andy Arena with the Detroit Crime Commission.

As former head of the Detroit FBI, Andy Arena has seen it all. It was his agents who made the case against former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

On Monday, as head of the Detroit Crime Commission, a consortium of law enforcement agencies, Arena has made the battle against scrappers his top priority. He knows what they're after. 

"Copper wire, catalytic converters, and air conditioning units. It gives a paper trail for law enforcement to track the same with a bank account. The same with a bank account" says Arena.

There's just one problem. The scrap yards are fighting it, and they've got the attention of enough lawmakers that the bill is tied up. Senator Mike Kowall from White Lake, is among senate members who don't entirely agree with Duggan and Arena. Instead of a three day waiting period, he believes a database that tracks scrappers could stop them.

Mayor Duggan isn't buying what the scrap yards are selling. Only Action News joined the mayor recently at the state capitol during a trip lobbying for tougher laws.

Mayor Duggan says "enough is enough. We've got to stop this. We want the check mailed to the name and address on the id. There are a lot of people selling with fake IDs."

The governor is still hopeful to sign a proposal by the end of the month. 


Print this article Back to Top