SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — Copper thieves struck the final resting place of Abraham Lincoln sometime within the last few weeks, and a state lawmaker says his measure will make such crimes harder to commit.

State Rep. Mike Unes (R-East Peoria) says his measure, introduced last month, will forbid scrap yards from paying cash on the spot, and will toughen consequences for copper thieves.

Unes says the crimes, which are pervasive in his district, are short-sighted and cause far more damage than they’re worth.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Alex Degman reports

“These thefts are costing tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of damage for just a few dollars of scrap,” he says.

Thieves hit Lincoln’s Tomb in Springfield sometime within the last few weeks, authorities say, and stole a three foot copper sword.

It replaced the original bronze sword in 1890, which was also stolen. Unes says his measure is not likely to see much action before next year.

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