The Erie County Legislature unanimously approved a local law designed to aid members of law enforcement in the recovery of stolen items sold to pawn brokers and second-hand dealers.
The local law, approved unanimously Thursday, Dec. 17, regulates the reselling of items, most notably requiring stores to hold items for two weeks. This would allow law enforcement time to search for and possibly recover stolen items.
"There was a great deal of work done to finalize this local law. Legislators collaborated with members of law enforcement and business owners to find a way to provide police departments a useful tool without overburdening store owners," Majority Leader Joseph Lorigo said. "During the recent public hearing, we heard from several town police chiefs who said that recovering stolen jewelry is especially difficult. Pawn shops often melt down jewelry very quickly, sometimes in a matter of hours. This law requires that the jewelry and other items be held for the two weeks intact."
"For many victims, the sentimental loss is far greater than the monetary value. Requiring that merchandise be held for two weeks gives law enforcement some time to track down an item before it is sold or destroyed. Hopefully more items can be returned to their rightful owner," Legislator Lynne Dixon said.
In addition, the law requires that brokers and stores maintain records and photo identification of any person they buy items from in hopes of curbing the buying and reselling of stolen goods.
Legislators Lorigo and Dixon cosponsored the law with Legislator Peter Savage.
The legislature supported a similar law earlier this year but withdrew the previous version before the process was complete. The revised version addresses issues raised while still providing law enforcement with critical tools for combatting the issue of stolen goods being sold in pawn shops and second-hand stores.