City to consider pawn ordinance

Published 8:40 pm Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Bainbridge City Council held an initial reading of a Pawnbrokers Ordinance at their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, May 17. The ordinance will require all pawnbrokers within the city limits to keep electronic records of the transactions made in the store. It will also require any person who wishes to operate a pawnshop to register with the city.

“The idea is that it’s a way to track and ensure that stolen property doesn’t end up being pawned,” City Manager Chris Hobby said. “Its not the pawnshop’s fault. They don’t know those items are stolen when they come in. It’s just really a way for us to track that merchandise.”

The system, which will be provided to pawnbrokers at no cost, will allow Bainbridge Public Safety officers to check the transaction records when they are searching for lost or stolen items. They will also have access to a national database of all shops that use the service where they can see if an item was pawned out of town.

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“It can help us to keep better track of things,” BPS director Jerry Carter said. “When we have something stolen we will be able to track it better. Right now we really don’t have the proper records from the pawnbrokers to do so.”

As currently written the ordinance will require pawnbrokers to photograph and fingerprint customers with whom they make a transaction.

“The ordinance that we proposed does have the picture and fingerprint provision, some cities don’t,” Hobby said. “That’s something the council could untimely say ‘we don’t want to go that far we’ll just take the personal information which has a description of the person and that’s enough.’”

Pawnbrokers will also have to log a description of the person, a description of the item, the price paid, the receipt number, the maturity date of the transaction if it is a pawn and the signature of the customer.

“I feel like there’s going to be a lot of extra work. Everything I do is hand operated,” Claude Shirley, the owner and operator of City Pawn, said. “I don’t have a problem with it, but I would really prefer to be able to furnish them with a copy of my hand written ticket with all the information on it that they want.”

A public hearing will be held at the city council meeting on June 21. According to Hobby, a representative of the company providing the service will be in attendance to answer any questions council members or businesses may have.


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