It just became more difficult for thieves to cash in on stolen goods in Naperville.
The City Council this week wrote a new chapter to the portion of the city code governing police regulations, adopting a set of guidelines to regulate the buying and selling of jewelry and precious metals, including collector coins, that affect five vendors doing business in the city.
The Pawnbrokers and Secondhand Dealers ordinance requires the businesses to enter into a searchable online database a photo identification of each person selling or pawning an item, along with a description and picture of each item sold. Using the information available in the database, managed nationwide by the company LeadsOnline, police are better able to establish whether valuables that have been reported as stolen have subsequently been sold or pawned.
Also included in the new local legislation is a 10-day waiting period requirement before gold, silver and other precious metals can be melted down for resale.
City resident Marie Berner supported the new laws, sharing her own experience of having some $15,000 worth of family heirloom jewelry stolen from her home about a year ago.
After she visited the pawn shop that had purchased and then liquefied and sold her items, and spent an estimated 35 hours working with investigators and other police personnel on the robbery, Berner said she came away without seeing justice done. She blamed that on the lack of a local ordinance regulating the process.
“The pawn shop had no photographs of the items. They’re not required to take photographs of the items they receive,” said Berner, who would later learn the thief used false identification when he exchanged her jewels for cash. “So they took in $15,000 worth of jewelry, they paid the young man about $500, and three days later, when the detective went back and said, ‘We’re looking for this gentleman,’ they said, ‘Nope, never saw him.’ … We were never able to bring charges because there was no photograph linking my items at that pawn shop.”
The new ordinance addresses that shortcoming in a way that also could provide some deterrent for future would-be sellers of stolen goods, officials said.
Already in practice in a similar form in Aurora and Plainfield, the measure drew support from the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce. Aurora also currently subscribes to LeadsOnline, as do Lisle and Bolingbrook. The service will come at an annual cost to the city of $7,000, which includes training for the pawnbrokers. Compliance with the new law requires computer access and the means to photograph identification cards and merchandise involved in the transactions, but it doesn’t entail any additional costs for the secondhand dealers.Tags: City Council, Pawn Shops