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Laws, police oversight a fact of life for shops

January 29, 2014

Pawn shops must follow myriad federal, state and local regulations.

In addition to any relevant federal laws governing the purchase and sale of firearms and specific IRS guidelines for transactions over $10,000, some federal laws are specific to pawn shops.

Under the Patriot Act, for example, only people with a government-issued photo identification can do business at a pawn shop. The Truth in Lending Act requires pawnbrokers to clearly explain the terms of any loans.

On a state level, interest rates or fees pawn shops can charge is often capped. Pawn tickets, which the owner of property must have to get their property back, are usually required by law.

Shops also have to extensively record every transaction.

Locally, pawn shops often work closely with law enforcement officers to prevent crime.

In Casa Grande, items bought by a pawn shop must be held for 20 days before they can be put on the shelves for sale. That allows authorities to check whether the item may have been involved in a crime and protects the pawnbroker from inadvertently conducting an illegal sale.

Serial numbers and other information is entered by the pawnbroker into an online database called Leads Online, which is regularly monitored by the Casa Grande Police Department.

Officers also regularly visit pawn shops and make sure the merchandise matches what the shop has reported. Officers also help store employees become familiar with the laws governing the industry. When a new shop opens, local law enforcement makes it a point to meet the owners and employees and cultivate a working relationship with that store.

When stolen items are discovered, the pawnbroker works with police to finish any associated investigation and, ultimately, return the stolen property to the victim. The victim does, however, have to buy the item back from the pawnbroker.

Officer Thomas Anderson, department spokesman, said local pawnbrokers have "a good relationship" with the department.

"Our goal is to get property back to the victim," Anderson said.


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