Pawnbroker ordinance expands to precious metal exchanges | KOB 4

Pawnbroker ordinance expands to precious metal exchanges

Caleb James
January 13, 2018 11:36 AM

Editor's note: Updates to this story reflect new information from Albuquerque City Councilor Diane Gibson. An initial draft of the pawnbrokers ordinance included rules for previous metal buyers. Gibson said the two industries proved too dissimilar during research, and a separate ordinance will eventually govern precious metal exchanges, if approved.



ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- City leaders and law enforcement want to regulate Albuquerque's pawn industry to help curb property crime. 

It's a unique dynamic between Albuquerque industry leaders and city officials. No one seems to argue the need for regulation of some sort, even as the reach of the proposed ordinance expands. But there are a lot of concerns about rules like fingerprinting and photographing customers.  

Now, a separate ordinance may eventually govern an industry sometimes associated with pawn shops. Gold and silver exchanges were originally included in drafts for the pawnbrokers ordinance, but the industry proved too dissimilar. But there are on-going discussions about how to regulate the business where stolen items can occasionally show up for sale.

"In the gold and silver exchange business, you're not just purchasing and selling jewelry. You're also purchasing and selling coins," Castle Gold and Silver owner Lonny Schroeder said at his shop Thursday evening.  

From vintage money to antique jewelry, Schroeder sells precious pieces of history -- bought secondhand and resold. It can mean once in a blue moon something stolen turns up in the shop.

"We're actually excited and it makes us feel good when we can reconnect an owner with their possessions," Schroeder said. 

Stolen jewelry made its way into his Menaul Boulevard metal exchange shop only two or three times last year, Schroeder said. All cases were reported to police. 

A proposed city ordinance originally included rules for precious metal buyers and pawnbrokers. But because the businesses proved too different, they'll likely be proposed as separate laws.

"We definitely don't want to trample on private citizens constitutional rights," he said. 

Provisions in the current draft of the pawnbrokers ordinance would require fingerprinting of customers who sell or pawn items. Schroeder says that has been a sticking point for the precious metal buyers industry.

There's a team of lawyers trying to work it all out right now behind the scenes. Schroeder said he and his colleagues want to help the police as much as possible, even negotiations have created a stronger relationship. 

"There are dozens and dozens of businesses involved in these negotiations," he said. "We're hoping the communications this opens up and the cooperation this opens up between APD and the businesses really benefits the public."

Councilwoman Diane Gibson has told KOB in previous reports that fingerprinting and other ID requirements in the pawnbrokers ordinance are part of laws already on the books in other cities. Those laws provided an outline for the proposed Albuquerque law, according to Gibson. 


Caleb James

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