LACONIA — The Government Operations and Ordinances Sub-Committee of the City Council on Monday unanimously endorsed a proposal by the Licensing Board to tighten the ordinance regulating the operations of pawnshops and secondhand dealers, which will be presented to the council for approval next month.
A secondhand dealer is defined as any person or corporation that buys, sells or exchanges secondhand goods, but the definition would apply only to those who purchase secondhand articles "directly" from the general public.
Both pawnshops and secondhand dealers are regulated by the state. The statute bearing on pawnbrokers (RSA 398) applies only to municipalities with populations of 40,000 or more, but may be adopted by all cities and towns. Although the city enacted an ordinance "to ensure compliance of pawnshops to deal in legally obtained items" in 1975, the state law authorizing the city to license pawnbrokers was not adopted until 2010. The state law authorizes municipalities licensing pawnbrokers to also regulate them. Consequently, at the same time, the ordinance was amended to require pawnbrokers to provide the police a written record of property within 24 hours of receiving it and to hold property for 14 days before selling it.
However, the ordinance applied only to pawnbrokers, and in December 2013 the police recommended it be extended to secondhand dealers under the authority granted to municipalities by state law (RSA 322).
Detective Kevin Butler told the committee that less than 20 businesses in the city would be subject to the ordinance. Although no business owners attended the committee meeting, Butler said that when the terms and purpose of the ordinance were explained, the legitimate businesses understood that it was intended to discourage trade in stolen goods and would protect them against receiving stolen goods.
The proposal prepared by the Licensing Board would apply to both pawnbrokers and secondhand dealers and would require both to be licensed by the city. A pawnbroker is defined as any person or corporation that lends money at interest and takes property as security, which may be sold if not redeemed.
Applications would be submitted to the city and investigated by the police. who would report to Licensing Board. No license would be issued to any firm, whose owners or employees had been convicted of theft, burglary, fraud or receiving stolen property in the prior 10 years. Licenses would be issued for a specific location and could not be transferred to another person or corporation. Licenses would carry an initial fee of $100 and an annual renewal fee of $25.
Pawnbrokers and secondhand dealers would be required to record the date and time of purchases, amount paid or loaned, as well as the interest rate, along with the name and address of the seller or borrower, type of article, brand name, model number, and serial number, color, any identifying marks; and if jewelry, the metal as well as kind, number and, if known, carat of any stones. The transaction record would include a color image of the property. The ordinance would require transaction records be kept for seven years
Sellers and borrowers would be required to produce photographic identification, including their full name, date of birth and street address, which the pawnbroker or secondhand dealer would attach tot he transaction record. Transactions with anyone younger than 18 would be prohibited unless they were accompanied by a parent or guardian, who would be required to sign the transaction record.
Pawnbrokers would required to hold property taken in pawn for four months after acquiring it, unless the item was perishable, in which case it could be disposed of within a month with permission of the police. Pawnbrokers or secondhand dealers purchasing property for money would be required to hold it for 14 days. Pawnbrokers and secondhand dealers would be required to file transaction records electronically on a specified form with the police within 24 hours of the close of the business day when the transaction occurred. Violations of the ordinance would carry a fine of $100 per day or suspension or revocation of license
- Category: Local News
- Hits: 235