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City abandons pawn shop ordinance

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GREENFIELD — The Greenfield City Council has withdrawn an ordinance designed to help law enforcement track thieves after reaching an agreement with local business owners.

In March, an ordinance requiring city pawn brokers and gold-buyers to keep extensive records of their purchases online easily passed a first reading by city council but hit a snag after business owners claimed the measure asked too much of them.

The ordinance would have had businesses log purchases into LeadsOnline, a web-based program used to file serial numbers and photographs of items. Aimed at jewelry, gems and metals like gold and silver, the ordinance would have required business owners to record the date and time of each transaction, a description of the item and information from the seller’s government ID.

The ordinance was tabled in April and officially withdrawn at Wednesday’s meeting after state rules with similar requirements that supersede the necessity of a local law were passed by the Indiana General Assembly in May and signed into law.

House Enrolled Act 1188 requires dealers “to hold the jewelry for a period of time, take a picture of it and report it electronically,” said John Patton, city council president.

The law also states that business owners must take the appropriate information from sellers’ government identification and provide that information to police daily.

Regardless of the new state law, the local ordinance may have been withdrawn anyway.

After a public outcry in April from local business owners who would have been affected by the ordinance, law enforcement officials worked with them to reach a compromise.

Steve Craney, owner of Treasures to Cash, thought the local ordinance asked too much of business owners but has agreed to use LeadsOnline after meeting with police. He’s pleased now that police have decided to work with business owners, instead of forcing them to comply with an unnecessary ordinance. 

“I’m satisfied with the fact that the City of Greenfield has recognized that the small-business owners are here to help them and be proactive,” he said. “They didn’t need to write an ordinance to do this; they just needed to talk with us.”

The police department has also included a way for small businesses with limited access to the necessary technology to report products on paper by providing paperwork to fill out and provide to police, Patton said.

The council unanimously voted to withdraw the ordinance.

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