By Heather Moore
January 24, 2012
SCOTTSDALE, AZ (KPHO) – In Scottsdale, stolen items can make their way in and out of city businesses long before police can figure it out.
Tonight, the Scottsdale City Council passed an ordinance in order to keep better track of what's changing hands.
The result is new fees and electronic reporting regulations for all secondhand dealers and pawn shops in the city.
"There's a lot of people needing money in today's world. The banks aren't lending, so we're here for them," said Guy Dryer, the owner of Pawn First in Scottsdale. He says business has skyrocketed in the past few years.
Most of it is legit.
"We don't have a lot of stolen stuff coming into our shops, but it does happen occasionally," he admits.
It turns out that property theft is the number one crime in Scottsdale.
The city hopes the new rules will help crack down quicker on thieves.
Secondhand dealers and pawn shops will now have to report their inventory electronically, through a new software system that automatically updates every 24 hours.
"I think the speed at which we can recover stolen property when it is pawned will increase dramatically," said Commander Scott Popp with Scottsdale Police Department.
He says the city is probably the last to get on board with electronic reporting in the Phoenix metro area.
Currently, shop owners mail pawn slips to the city, where that information is entered by hand. He says they are running several months behind after just finishing the slips for June 2011.
Since Dryer owns a half dozen pawn shops in other cities, he's already familiar with the new reporting system. He's not sure how much the program will actually help police, given that there's already so much regulation.
He explains, "When you come into a pawn shop, you got to have a valid government ID. You're videotaped. You have to give a fingerprint, and they don't run a lot of stuff through us because they get caught."
A contract with the software company will now get underway. Police say the software will be paid for by RICO funds which come from assets or cash from illegal activity.
They hope to have the program up and running in about a month.