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HONOLULU (Pacific Islands Report, Sept. 5) – A Hawaii man has reportedly been sentenced to five years in prison and fined $4,500 for copper theft, the first criminal case involving the lucrative recycled metal.

According to The Honolulu Advertiser, Michael Scott Handy, 45, was charged with tearing the copper flashing from the Board of Water Supply building in Honolulu last May.

The Advertiser reported that City Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Franklin Pacarro Jr. asked for the five-year prison sentence "so that people will realize the seriousness of the offense" of stealing copper, a crime that continues to plague Honolulu and other localities. Alm agreed, telling Handy, "Everybody gets hurt by this."

Meanwhile, in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), the Marianas Variety reports that the islands’ scrap metal industry has burgeoned with 15 recycling companies exporting more than 6,000 pounds of copper per month (See story in today’s Pacific Islands Report). As a result, the CNMI government has put a hold on scrap metal exports pending careful inspection of shipments.

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