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Businesses in Oneida County begin reporting electronically to law enforcement

Deadline nears for Oneida Co. pawn shops to register

By Rocco Laduca

March 7, 2013

NEW HARTFORD & As local pawn shops and secondhand stores continue to register their businesses under a new Oneida County law, police agencies hope this strategy will help nab those crooks who try to hock stolen property.

Pawnbrokers have until April 1 to license their businesses with the Oneida County Sheriff's Office and also register through the website

Once a business has registered, it should take less than 30 seconds to electronically upload all of the items the pawn shops have received each day. Law enforcement can then run descriptions of stolen property through the database to look for any matches that might have been sold in a local pawn shop, as well as any pawn shop across the country.

Oneida County sheriff's investigators in recent weeks have began to use the database, but no successful matches have turned up yet, most likely because the program is still so new, officials said. Still, investigators expect to solve cases as more items get recorded in the database over time.

"Before, we would have to go to all these shops and look through their records," said Sgt. Robert Nelson of the sheriff's Criminal Investigation Unit. "Whereas now, we can sit at a desk with our computer and get that information. And if we put in enough descriptors on an item, hopefully we get a hit on it."

More than 2,300 businesses and police agencies nationwide are using in an attempt to return stolen items to their owners and solve other serious crimes, a spokesperson said.

In Oneida County, most of the pawn shop owners have been cooperative in licensing their stores and documenting the identities of anyone who sells items at their stores. Some stores, such as the Leggs Diamond pawn shop on Commercial Drive in New Hartford, have been keeping such records for years.

"The last thing you want to do is deal with anything that's stolen, because that's a no-win situation for everyone involved," said Joe Cerio, a sales representative at Leggs Diamond. "I think it's going to be a positive because it's going to keep all the legitimate businesses in business."

The only downfall of the new county law, however, is that pawn shops have to hold onto any jewelry or gold for seven days – a long time, Cerio said, when the value of gold can dramatically fluctuate in a matter of hours.


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