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Illinois law enforcement uses LeadsOnline to help recover more property and better serve crime victims

Village Board approves ordinance requiring secondhand stores to document purchases

By Mary Beth Versaci

April 30, 2013

GLEN ELLYN – Members of the Glen Ellyn Village Board unanimously voted Monday to require stores that purchase gold, jewelry and other similar items from customers to hold onto the items for four days and enter them into a database, giving local police officials a better chance at recovering items that have been stolen before the stores sell them.

According to a police memo, people who have stolen jewelry, gold or other items may try to sell them to a pawnshop or jewelry store for cash. Under this new ordinance, these stores will have to document jewelry and precious metals and stones they purchase from customers in a database called Leadsonline, which is used by other law enforcement agencies in the area. The database helps police officials locate stolen items.

"The key is, for us, in some cases we can get the arrest without the recovery, but what interests us in law enforcement is being able to make the victim as whole as possible," Norton said. "If we can return that stolen merchandise, especially when it's an heirloom of some sort, we think that makes us a better police department."

The Village Board first considered this ordinance in January and rejected it based on the testimonies of local businesses who would be affected by it.

Since then, the Glen Ellyn Police Department modified the proposed ordinance to lower the holding period from 30 to seven days and to remove a Secondhand Goods Dealer license fee imposed on businesses. The ordinance also was changed to exclude coins and instead focus on jewelry and electronics.

At Monday's meeting, board members voted to further lower the holding period to four days, which was the minimum amount of time Police Chief Phil Norton said would allow detectives to possibly locate stolen items.

The ordinance will affect about 10 stores in Glen Ellyn, including Larc Jewelers and Gabe's Coins, whose owners attended the meeting to speak against the proposed ordinance.

Wesley Barrow, owner of Larc Jewelers, said the ordinance would have a negative impact on his cash flow, since he would be required to hold onto items for an extended period of time before selling them.

Barrow said the Glen Ellyn police have never come to him in the past about any stolen items, and he doesn't believe these types of items come to his store since he tends to purchase jewelry from repeat customers.

For Gabe's Coins, the hardship would be more a matter of man power, owner Gabe Santa said.

Santa does not employ any staff, so it would be left to him to document the items he purchases, which can reach as many as 70 in any given day.

However, Norton said that although the police department is sensitive to the burden placed on businesses, their top priority is to help crime victims, including those who have been the targets of burglary or theft.


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