HARRISBURG, Pa. -

A proposal that would crack down on theft of scrap metal from railroad property in Pennsylvania has moved forward in the state Senate.

Senate Bill 1077, sponsored by Pa. Sen. David Argall, would strengthen the state's Scrap Material Theft Prevention Act by adding several railroad materials to the list of items that a scrap processor or recycling facility may purchase strictly from a commercial entity, not an individual.

"It's an issue of public safety for Pennsylvanians," said Argall, who introduced the bill after learning about increased theft from the Reading and Northern Railroad. "Can you imagine the deadly harm a stolen rail or warning sign could cause to the public? I'm hopeful this further deters criminals from stealing railroad property across the state."

Railroad materials, as defined in Argall's proposal, include crossing signals, spikes, track and other materials specifically used by railroads.

"When the Reading and Northern Railroad brought this serious safety issue to my attention at one of my town hall meetings, I knew we had to find a way to crack down on this illegal behavior before there is a serious injury," said Argall, a Schuylkill County Republican who also represents part of Berks County.

Currently, scrap processors are required to photocopy the seller's driver's license and obtain the license plate number of the vehicle belonging to the seller, Argall said.