Hobart considers pawn shop, gold buyer rules

2013-10-07T19:32:00Z 2013-10-08T00:21:14Z Hobart considers pawn shop, gold buyer rulesDeborah Laverty deborah.laverty@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2223 nwitimes.com

HOBART | The City Council is taking another look at regulation of pawn shops and cash for gold stores in Hobart.

The council at an Ordinance Committee meeting last week agreed to look into the possibility of requiring both types of stores to participate in a police regulated computer database program and to pay an annual fee.

The changes by the council are being considered following comments made by Police Chief Rick Zormier. 

Zormier said the Police Department uses a Leads Online database, which he said has helped solve dozens of burglaries.

"The program has been very successful. We have even recovered stolen jewelry that was found in Las Vegas," Zormier said.

Under the program, police departments can find out if jewelry and other items have been stolen and the identity of those selling the items.

He suggested the council require pawn shops and cash for gold stores to participate in the database program if they aren't already.

Zormier also suggested the stores be required to pay the city an annual registration fee of $25 to help offset the $3,600 the Police Department pays for the service.

Mayor Brian Snedecor said officials need to check with the stores to see if they also have to pay a hefty fee to participate in the program.

The cost could put some smaller shops out of business, Snedecor said.

City Councilman David Vinzant, D-4th, said officials need to do their homework prior to instituting the regulations. This isn't the first time the council has discussed regulating businesses buying and selling gold.

Two years ago, the council talked about making those shops more accountable by providing records to police for any transactions.

City Councilman Matt Claussen, D-at-large, who broached the issue then, said that was necessary because the cost of gold was going up and lots of fly-by-night places were opening.

"We had no issues with pawn shops per se," Claussen said.

Zormier said as the price of gold has skyrocketed, the number of burglaries has continue to increase, particularly gold jewelry.

"Gold's become a hot commodity because burglars can scrap it," Zormier said.

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