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Pawn shop owners outraged over proposed Williamsburg ordinance


The Williamsburg City Council was prepared to pass the second reading of its pawnshop ordinance, but council members agreed to table the matter until July after area pawn shop owners and employees expressed outrage about provisions requiring working security cameras inside the stores and that they keep written records of who purchased what items from the store.

"We should not have to take ID to sell something," said James Gregg Jr. of Fast Cash on U.S. 25W, adding that the items they make available for sale have been in the store at least 90 days.

The owners told the council that should be sufficient time for the items to be reported stolen and police to check with them to see if the item has been brought into one of their stores.

"If we knew it was stolen, we wouldn't take it," Gregg told the council.

Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird said that pawnshops are only required to keep items for 90 days if they have been taken as collateral for a loan. Items sold outright to the pawnshop may be made available for re-sale, immediately, meaning they could be in and out of the pawnshop in little or no time.

"We have had problems in the past with people who say they have found their stolen merchandise at the pawn shop," Bird said. "When they returned with the police, the merchandise gone. We don't want thieves to have a ready location to turn property into cash."

Bird acknowledged there have been several complaints that police have taken stolen items from area pawnshops without due process, telling the owners to take out a warrant in an effort to recover their losses.

"There is no due process to keep stolen property in Kentucky," Commonwealth's Attorney Allen Trimble said. "That is the law in Tennessee."

Bird added if the pawnshop owners have tickets to show whom the stolen item was bought from; it not only aids law enforcement in the investigation, but also aids the pawnshop owner in recovering any money when the case goes to court.

"If we can include those tickets in the case file when we give it to the commonwealth's attorney, he can request that the court order the offender make restitution to the pawn shop," Bird said.

Opal Mardis, of Diamond Jim's Pawn Shop, said the pawn shops in London send a report to the London Police every day listing the items the shop has bought or taken as collateral so police can determine if any of it has been reported stolen.
Bird said Kentucky law requires pawnshop owners to do that. On a shelf in his office, Bird has packs of forms he plans to provide to pawn shop owners to collect information about items including serial numbers.

"If you have seen the History Channel television show, 'Pawn Stars,' you repeatedly hear them saying, 'Let's go do some paperwork,'" Bird said. "That is the kind of paperwork they are doing."

The owners repeatedly asked the council why pawn shops were being singled out in being required to ask a customer for identification, noting individuals who sell similar items at flea markets or yard sales are not subject to the ordinance.

In addition, the owners noted individuals who set up shop at area hotels for several days to buy jewelry and scrap gold and silver are not subject to it..

Harrison replied that with the exception of the tenants requiring the video camera and that the pawnshops enter inventory items into the Leads Online computer system, the ordinance only reinforces state laws.

"We are putting some teeth into the law," Harrison said previously.

As to the video cameras, the owners said it hampers their business as some of their customers, especially those bringing items to pawn, don't want to be seen.

"I have met people in the parking lot here because they don't want to be seen going into a pawnshop," Gregg said.

Trimble said for more than 25 years, other businesses, such as banks, have used video surveillance. With improved technology, Trimble said there are few, if any stores that don't have some type of video surveillance.

"Video cameras have become just a fact of life when you go into a store," Trimble said.

At the urging of Harrison, the council agreed to table the second reading of the ordinance pending a meeting between Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird, Trimble and the pawnshop owners.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Bird said he had not heard from Harrison as to when or where the meeting will take place.
The council is scheduled to meet in regular session on July 12.
 

Comments

Alexander (June 24, 2010) Reply

Looking at this issue without a 'Dog in this Hunt' attitude, I do not understand why any law abiding citizen would object to this ordinance. It would protect the pawn shop owners in case they did accidently purchase stolen property and made it easier for the police to identify thieves.


mdn (July 10, 2014) Reply

Personally I feel like every citizen should have a problem with the government trampling their inalienable rights. We are guaranteed the right to privacy. Requiring ID of patrons purchasing items does exactly that. Not to mention that the store should not be forced into surveillance systems. Since the law recognizes the corporation as a person then their are guaranteed to the right of unlawful search and seizure, unless areal photography, therefore, very unconstitutional.


Citizen (June 29, 2010) Reply

Exactly Alexander. Any law abiding citizen would not have a problem with this. The biggest majority of the ordinance simply reinforces state law. Even if the city ordinance didn't pass, the state law still applies. There's nothing the city can do about that. If the pawn shop owners don't like the state laws, then they need to discuss it in Frankfort. It seems rather funny though that other pawn shops follow these laws without question or argument because they know it's for everyone's protection. I do believe though if someone checked into it, this particular pawn shop's owners/management has a criminal record. This might explain some of their unreasonable arguments.


Kyle (November 15, 2010) Reply

You people are entirely too ready to get up in arms and complain about something. The problem with this provision is two-fold: First it infringes upon the rights of the business owner's in the sense that it requires extra investment not in the form of physical capital nor in the form of certification. It is simply an additional extraneous cost associated with this single type of business in this particular state. It would be much more constitutionally friendly if the provision required ALL business to have security cameras installed. Secondly, it infringes upon privacy. As was mentioned in the article, Pawn Shops have a certain stigma that goes along with them. If the majority of people believe a pawn shop is for criminals, non-criminals will be less likely to visit these shops if they believe they will be associated with criminals when they are entering or leaving a shop. I think the laws they have regarding pawn shops are more than adequate. It is a matter of enforcing these laws that has become a problem, and led to asanine provision, as were put forth by the Williamsburg City Council. Try putting a selection of people who know the law onto the council, Williamsburg.


LTD Investments (January 29, 2011) Reply

Most people are missing the point. It's not they they want the info of who pawned or sold the item but who it was sold to. That is not in the state law nor should it be. Does Game Stop have to get the ID of the person that they sell a used game system to? No. In some states they don't even have to get the id of the person they buy it from. If you are a thief and have stolen game system where would you go? To a pawn shop that get your ID, signature and more or to game stop that will just had you the cash and have the system on the floor for sale the same day.


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MIke (October 27, 2012) Reply

I am a Pawn shop owner in Tennessee and we hold all item bought for 20 days, gold & silver for 30 days so the items can be checked to see if they are stolen I can't see why anyone would have a problem with this unless they are doing something they shouldn't be doing.


MIke (October 27, 2012) Reply

I am a Pawn shop owner in Tennessee and we hold all item bought for 20 days, gold & silver for 30 days so the items can be checked to see if they are stolen I can't see why anyone would have a problem with this unless they are doing something they shouldn't be doing.


MIke (October 27, 2012) Reply

I am a Pawn shop owner in Tennessee and we hold all item bought for 20 days, gold & silver for 30 days so the items can be checked to see if they are stolen I can't see why anyone would have a problem with this unless they are doing something they shouldn't be doing.


MIke (October 27, 2012) Reply

I am a Pawn shop owner in Tennessee and we hold all item bought for 20 days, gold & silver for 30 days so the items can be checked to see if they are stolen I can't see why anyone would have a problem with this unless they are doing something they shouldn't be doing.


mdn (July 10, 2014) Reply

Personally I feel like every citizen should have a problem with the government trampling their inalienable rights. We are guaranteed the right to privacy. Requiring ID of patrons purchasing items does exactly that. Not to mention that the store should not be forced into surveillance systems. Since the law recognizes the corporation as a person then their are guaranteed to the right of unlawful search and seizure, unless areal photography, therefore, very unconstitutional.


mdn (July 10, 2014) Reply

Personally I feel like every citizen should have a problem with the government trampling their inalienable rights. We are guaranteed the right to privacy. Requiring ID of patrons purchasing items does exactly that. Not to mention that the store should not be forced into surveillance systems. Since the law recognizes the corporation as a person then their are guaranteed to the right of unlawful search and seizure, unless areal photography, therefore, very unconstitutional.

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