One way to combat crime is to limit the ease of selling stolen items. If a thief can break into a home or car, then walk into a pawn shop, no questions asked, and sell the merchandise, it’s basically like getting a free pass to steal. Moving forward, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz wants to put an end to the simple nature of pawning stolen items at pawnbrokers, second hand dealers, coin exchange dealers, and dealers in jewelry and precious metals.
This measure (Local Law Intro. No. 1-5) is a no brainer, and should help to curb the ways that criminals can profit from their thieving practices. Once in effect, the law will create a uniform system that will track the origins of the questionable items. Those looking to pawn merchandise would also have to show valid identification. To add to the success rate of the law, no one under 18 years of age will be allowed to pawn items, and brokers will have to hold on to items for longer durations of time before selling them. They will also have to photograph and catalogue the items.
“This law will make it more difficult for thieves to sell their stolen goods while making it easier for law enforcement to track those goods and see that they are returned to their rightful owners. Many of these thefts are committed by individuals seeking quick cash to feed a drug habit, often stealing from their own family members, so this law will immediately put a crimp in these activities in several ways,” said Poloncarz. “By requiring pawn shop operators to obtain valid identification from everyone seeking to sell items, taking a comprehensive inventory of these items that includes photographic images, and barring transactions with anyone under the age of 18 we will discourage illegal sales and increase the likelihood of crime victims getting their belongings back.”
Chief of Narcotics for the Erie County Sheriff’s Office Alan Rozansky added, “After more than 7 years of pursuing a countywide pawnshop law with the Erie County legislators, it is very rewarding to finally have a bipartisan group that worked with myself, fellow law enforcement partners, and County Executive Poloncarz to achieve a victory for the citizens of Erie County.”
The law was already approved unanimously by the Erie County Legislature in December 2015, and will go into effect when filed with the NYS Secretary of State.
Photo: Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz with Chief of Narcotics for the Erie County Sheriff’s Office Alan Rozansky and regional law enforcement officials