WICHITA, Kan. -

It's a crime trend that costs communities in Kansas hundreds of thousands of dollars each year - while thieves often only make off with a few bucks worth of goods.

The Sedgwick County District Attorney is asking for your help with the metal theft problem in our area.

Scrap metal dealers and area officials will met Thursday morning to talk about the growing problem.

District Attorney Marc Bennett says he's looking for a solution, and part of that would mean new legislation.

"The real answer is putting in place set regulation at businesses where thieves go with their stolen good," Bennett said. 

Thieves often break into abandoned property or empty buildings overnight and strip the inside of copper and other metals.

When workers or owners return, they find damage that can cost them thousands. Dale Christner owns a recycling business and says the problem is getting worse.

"It's impossible to tell if metal has been stolen or not. I don't want to support criminals and I think we need to tighten up regulations across the board," Christner said. 

Kansas law currently requires buyers to keep a record of the seller's birth date and driver's license number, but lawmakers want more.

A bill introduced last session would have required buyers at scrap yards to photograph sellers, record serial numbers and take down names of sellers. That information would go to a central database with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

That bill didn't gain any traction, but Bennett wants to amend it for the next session.