The Louisiana House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation Wednesday evening that would factor in property damage to the prison times and fines thieves receive for stealing copper and other metals.
State Rep. Lance Harris, R-Alexandria, filed House Bill 48, after thieves damaged air conditioners at his Forest Hill convenience store while ripping copper wiring out of the units.
Under HB48, a thieves’ sentence will be calculated based on the value of the copper stolen and the value of the air conditioners.
The bill leaves it up to the courts to determine the fair market value of the metal, the cost to replace the metal and the cost of repairing or replacing the damaged property.
The stiffest penalty prescribed by the bill calls for a defendant to receive a prison term between five and 10 years and a fine of up to $1,000 when the theft and property damage is valued at $1,000 or more.