New Law requires pawnbrokers to hold property to assist law enforcement and victims of crime in tracing and recovering stolen property
Erie County, NY- The Erie County Legislature unanimously approved a Local Law co-sponsored by Legislator Peter Savage (D- Tonawanda & Buffalo) regulating pawnbrokers and secondhand dealers.
The new Local Law makes it unlawful for establishments to: purchase any articles, jewelry or precious metals from any person under the age of 18; sell, dispose of, destroy, alter or remove from premises any articles for 14 days, (or 30 days if requested by law enforcement); and bars employment to anyone who has been convicted of a felony in the past 3 years. This law will serve as a critical crime-fighting tool for law enforcement to locate and recover stolen products on a cross jurisdiction and countywide basis.
“This law gives law enforcement and victims of crime the opportunity to recover stolen property that may have been sold to a pawnbroker before it is resold or destroyed,” said Legislator Peter Savage.
The Local Law also requires all pawnbrokers, secondhand dealers, jewelry and coin exchange dealers, or precious metal exchanges operating within Erie County to be licensed by the Office of the Erie County Sheriff. The licenses will be valid for one year and the fee will be set equal to the fee imposed by the City of Buffalo.
“Unfortunately with the increased use of heroin and other drugs in our community, it is essential that we give law enforcement the tools it needs to recover stolen property that may have been sold to a pawnbroker to support a drug habit,” continued Legislator Savage.
This updated Local Law addresses concerns previously raised by some businesses and follows a recent public hearing where numerous chiefs of police from all across Erie County testified in support of its passage. The law will now be sent to the County Executive for review and final approval.