Delaware Metal Scrap Statute

The State Metals Theft Laws summaries are not intended to provide or be relied as a legal advice. This material is provided to serve as a reasonable compilation of the most current state scrap laws and is intended to be a resource or supplement to, and provide ideas for, compliance with all applicable laws. The ISRI State Scrap Laws are subject to change and readers should visit to make certain they are reading the most recent version of ISRI's summaries of the State Metals Theft Laws
Overview of Provisions (use the section titles to travel directly to that section)

Please Note: Amendments by 2014 Delaware SB 194 are included and noted in this summary.

Materials Covered and Other Definitions

Scrap Metal, as used in this summary, refers to the following items listed in § 2302.(b)(1) as requiring reporting:

  • Copper;
  • Silver;
  • Gold;
  • Brass;
  • Platinum; or
  • Bronze.
  • Automobiles or automobile parts displaying a VIN;
  • Batteries 12 volt or higher.

Restricted Items, as used in this summary, refers to the following items listed in § 2307.(d) as requiring the Seller provide authorization:

  • Metal bleachers;
  • Hard-drawn copper;
  • Metal beer kegs;
  • Cemetery urns;
  • Grave markers;
  • Materials related to railroad infrastructure; and
  • Any other used articles owned by a public utility including: guardrails; manhole covers; metal light poles; tree grates; water meters; and street signs

"Scrap Metal Processor" means any person, company, corporation, or member or members of a partnership or firm engaged in the business of selling or receiving any worn out or discarded metal, old iron, used plumbing fixtures, other metals, automobiles, automobile parts, chain, copper, lead, brass, or other parts of machinery.


Persons must obtain a license before carrying on business as a Processor. Licenses shall be granted annually on or before March 15 by the State Police, and shall designate the building in which the Processor shall carry on its business. Aside from the acquisition of goods, no business may be engaged in any other building than the one designated in the license. Applicants shall pay a $50 fee to the State Police as well as an annual subscription fee, not to exceed $300, to the electronic reporting system designated.



Processors shall create a record and provide information for transactions involving articles listed as Scrap Metal. Records shall be kept electronically in a format to be determined by the Secretary of Safety and Homeland Security, and include the following information: (SB 194 changes from form supplied by State Police or approved by local law enforcement)

  • The date and time of purchase;
  • The type and grade of Scrap Metal;
  • If payment is based on weight, the weight of each type and grade;
  • The amount or other consideration for the Scrap Metal;
  • The registration plate number, make, and model of the delivery vehicle;
  • The Seller's name and address;
  • The Seller's signature;
  • The Processor's signature;
  • A copy of the identification provided by the Seller;
  • A photo of the Seller;
  • The name of the person making the record entry;
  • An electronic photo or video image of the articles.

For each Seller, either:

  • The date of birth and driver's license; or
  • Identification information from a valid state-issued photo ID card that provides a physical description of the individual, including the sex, race,distinguishing features, and approximate age, height and weight.



Records shall be retained for 1 year from the date the transaction was recorded, except electronic images of the articles acquired need only be retained for 30 days


Records and inventory on the premises shall be subject to inspection during regular business hours by a law-enforcement officer of Delaware, or by the Attorney General or any Deputy AG, to determine if they are being maintained as required.

Records shall be provided to police immediately upon request.


Records shall be reported electronically by the close of business the next business day to the law enforcement agency with primary jurisdiction over the Processor's location. The Secretary of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security may determine the format of reports and promulgate rules and regulations that allow for their completion and filing. (SB 194 changes from 12 PM filing deadline).

A copy of the electronic images of the articles acquired must be supplied to a law enforcement agency within 24 hours of a specific request.


Processors must hold platinum, gold, and silver articles for 18 days. Law enforcement officers may extend a hold on such items for an additional 30 days if they know or have reason to believe the property is missing or stolen.

Processors must hold all copper and brass articles for 72 hours from the date and time the item was electronically reported, not including holidays or weekends, unless all of the following apply:

  • Articles are purchased or received from a commercially licensed entity;
  • Articles are of the type commonly received from commercial entities; and
  • Payment is made directly to the commercial entity and not the Deliverer.

Processors who take in a scrapped or dismantled vehicle without a title must hold the vehicle until it is cleared by a State Police auto theft technician.

Seizure of Stolen Goods by Processors

Processors may seize any goods offered to them for sale when they have reason to believe the goods have been stolen. The Processor shall immediately notify the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction over the premises where the transaction took place or where the goods are currently located. Any person acting in compliance with this section shall be immune from civil or criminal penalties if that person acts in good faith.


Purchase Restrictions

Processors may not knowingly purchase or acquire any article:

  • • From persons under 18 years old unless that person is recycling aluminum cans or
    accompanied by a parent, grandparent, or guardian;
  • From persons under the influence of any intoxicating liquor or drug when such is visible or apparent; or
  • That has an altered, obliterated, or otherwise tampered with serial number or identifying marking.
Catalytic Converters

A Processor may only purchase a catalytic converter from a Seller who provides identification as a licensed automotive dismantler or scrap metal processor, or as an agent or employee of a licensed commercial enterprise.

Restricted Items

A processor may only purchase Restricted Items if the Seller provides appropriate authorization from a relevant business or unit of federal, State, or local government specifically authorizing the Seller to conduct the transaction.


Except where another penalty is provided, any violator shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to up to a $10,000 fine.

(added by SB 194) A Processor operating without the required license may be issued a cease and desist order by the State Police and will not be permitted to operate without obtaining a license. Any property acquired during the time a Processor was unlicensed is subject to forfeiture.


Political subdivisions and municipalities may enact laws more restrictive than the state law, but they "shall be in addition to, not in lieu of, the regulations set forth in this chapter."

State Police Annual Report

The State Police shall maintain an annual report setting forth the list of licensed Processors in Delaware and their respective addresses and contact information.

©2016. The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. All rights reserved.

This summary of State Metals Theft Laws is being viewed on this website under license and is owned and copyrighted by Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. ("ISRI"),1615 L Street, N.W., Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036.