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City Conducts First-Ever Pawn Shop Sweep

Inspectors Check For Code, Safety Violations

May 13, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS – For the first time Friday, inspectors carried out a sweep of the city's pawn shops and secondhand dealers, checking licenses and looking for violations.

Of the eight businesses checked by the Department of Code Enforcement, one was found to be without the required license, while inspectors also found 11 zoning violations and 50 fire code violations, 6News' Jack Rinehart reported.

Of the 44 pawned items spot checked during Friday's raid, all had been properly recorded and documented, officials said.

"We've got to make sure that everyone's in compliance and they're keeping up their side the bargain as far as their record keeping requirements that we have," said Adam Collins, licensing administrator for the Department of Code Enforcement.

Indianapolis pawn shops, secondhand goods dealers and salvage yards are required to keep detailed records of every transaction.

City regulations require dealers to obtain a thumbprint, photograph and information that identifies the seller and the items sold.

"That's so when a stolen item is located, IMPD can quickly come back and see who was responsible for bringing that item in," Collins said.

In 2009, the pawn shop tracking system helped Indianapolis homeowners get back nearly $1 million in stolen property that thieves tried to pawn or sell in area shops, police said.

Several dealers who spoke to 6News said they were surprised by the inspections but welcomed the scrutiny.

"I'm excited they're finally holding people accountable for buying stolen goods," said Josh Light, who owns GW Sells at 7300 W. Washington St. "It makes it a lot easier to make money in this business when everyone plays by the rules."

Businesses cited for violations in Friday's sweep will have 30 days to correct the violations or face further sanctions in environmental court.

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