LACONIA — The City Council this week unanimously endorsed a proposal by the Police Department and Licensing Board to stiffen the reporting requirements for pawnbrokers and secondhand dealers of certain types of merchandise, a move intended to curb the trade in stolen property.
The ordinance will 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. 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.
Detective Kevin Butler told the council that the ordinance would apply to the one licensed pawnbroker and a dozen secondhand dealers currently operating in the city. He said that trade in books, furniture and clothing would be exempt from the ordinance while transactions involving motor vehicles, firearms and ammunition are subject to other municipal and state regulations.
Applications for licenses would be submitted to the city and investigated by the police. who will report to Licensing Board. No license will 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 will be issued for a specific location and could not be transferred to another person or corporation. Licenses will carry an initial fee of $100 and an annual renewal fee of $25.
Pawnbrokers and secondhand dealers will 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 will include a color image of the property. The ordinance will require transaction records be kept for seven years
Sellers and borrowers will 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 will be required to hold property taken in pawn for four months after acquiring it, unless the item is perishable, in which case it can be disposed of within a month with permission of the police. Pawnbrokers or secondhand dealers purchasing property for money will be required to hold it for 14 days. Pawnbrokers and secondhand dealers will 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.