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      SC lawmakers approve bill to curb copper thefts

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- A South Carolina bill designed to curb thieves from ripping copper from air-conditioning units and farm irrigation systems is heading to Gov. Nikki Haley.

      The Senate voted 39-1 on Wednesday to agree to changes made in the House. The amended bill bans cash sales for copper and requires both the seller and recycler to obtain permits from local law enforcement.

      It requires metal recyclers to record information on the sale, including the seller's photograph, a copy of the permit and the license plate number.

      The bill's supporters say thieves are destroying property for a few dollars' worth of copper. And law enforcement says copper theft from homes, churches and farms is the top crime in some rural counties.

      (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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