Merced County officials have passed a new law aimed at thwarting people who steal copper wire.
The ordinance passed last week by the Merced County Board of Supervisors requires metal buyers to ask people who are selling commonly stolen metals for identification.
It also bans buyers from accepting cash for transactions for more than five dollars, and requires scrap dealers to hold onto the metals they buy for 10 days before melting or reselling them.
The ordinance only affects dealers operating in the county's unincorporated areas, but board members say they hope to pass a
broader law soon.
Copper thefts have increased across the nation as the salvage price for the metal has soared in recent years.