From the Fresno Bee:
California farmers are laying down spike strips and forming agricultural watch groups as ways to battle metal theft, several growers testified Friday during an informational state Senate hearing in Fresno.
Sens. Tom Berryhill, R-Modesto, and Anthony Canella, R-Ceres, held the meeting as part of the Senate Committee on Agriculture. The senators wanted to hear from farmers, law enforcement officials and the recycling industry about the chronic problem of metal theft in agriculture.
Canella said at least five bills have been introduced that deal with cracking down on metal theft.
Although California has created laws to combat metal theft, including a bill authored by Berryhill that makes it tougher to recycle metal, the problem continues and may be getting worse.
Cannon Michael, a sixth-generation farmer from Los Banos, put down homemade spike strips on his ranch to deter metal thefts. Thieves had recently stripped 22 feet of copper wire from two irrigation pumps. It took five days to repair the extensive damage.
Over the last two years, Michael estimates he has lost more than $100,000 in stolen metal and related property damage.
Agricultural-crime detectives said the punishment for stealing metal is not severe enough. If a criminal steals something valued at less than $950, it is a misdemeanor.
For more, see: Valley farmers taking measures to curb metal theft