Oklahoma Ordinance Looks To Close Loophole For Second-Hand Stores

Wednesday, May 7th 2014, 7:13 pm
By: Emory Bryan

Pawn shops have strict regulations on reporting to police what they buy, but, a lot of the same things sold in pawn shops are bought and sold in other stores, with no one checking.

While pawn shops have one set of rules, other resellers have a loophole that police believe criminals use to sell stolen items.

The shelves are more than full at J & J's Bargain Depot, a resale shop near downtown. They buy and sell a lot of things, but try to avoid buying anything stolen.

Stores like that have no requirement to keep records of what they buy, but because they check ID, Janet Priego believes they screen out people selling things that are stolen.

"As soon as I ask for ID they say, ‘oh it's in the car,' and they just walk out, I don't see them anymore," Priego said.

The police can't do anything about items like a lamp that's unmarked and untraceable, but they can get numbers off appliances and check those against a list of what's been reported stolen.

That's how the police track down things that are stolen that end up at pawn shops. They have to report their purchases every day, but police figure a lot of criminals just go elsewhere.

Sergeant Shellie Seibert with the Tulsa Police, said, "Pawn shops, gold shops are regulated by state statutes and city ordinances, but second hand stores are not, and criminals have figured this out."

At Silver Dollar Jewelry and Pawn, manager Chris Clark is happy that other stores, which buy and sell some of the same merchandise, will have to play by the same rules.

"It's good for citizens of Tulsa, knowing their items are being checked with police, before you could go somewhere that didn't have to turn the information into police and there would be no record of it and it's just gone," Clark said.

The City Council is still drafting the ordinance, considering how far to extend its reach; who will be required to report transactions and on exactly what kind of items.

Flea markets and garage sales would not be covered by the new ordinance.

It comes up in the City Council in a few weeks.