To crack down on theft and burglary, a pawn shop ordinance might be in Danville’s and Boyle County’s near future.
It is uncertain yet how strict the ordinance will be, but Danville Police Chief Tony Gray told officials at Monday’s City Commission meeting he is working on a draft to present to the commission and Boyle County Fiscal Court.
Gray said other cities, such as Lexington and Frankfort, have adopted ordinances that require a little more description of pawned items. Some of the ordinances his department has looked at include a required thumbprint and photograph of a person pawning an item.
Others might require a Social Security number and birthdate, and some ordinances go as far as needing a serial number for an item.
But Gray said there are three things he is certain should be included in Danville and Boyle County’s ordinance: identification of the person, a detailed description of the item sold or pawned, and most importantly, a mandatory wait time before the shop can sell the item or melt down any metals.
Gray said most pawn shops already report all of their transactions by sending the police department receipts through email.
Employees at Kings Corner Pawn Gold Buying Center on Fourth Street and American Pawn on the bypass said they report to the police already.
Mike Hockensmith, manager at Kings Corner, said he is concerned how much the ordinance would hurt his business financially, and that he can usually tell when a pawner is up to no good.
“I keep in close contact with the police,” Hockensmith said. “When something’s hot, I pretty much know.”
While this is helpful, Gray said it could be improved, mostly in terms of returning stolen items to the owners.
Gray said the price of gold has gone up and “a lot of times jewelry is melted down.”
“Say there was a wedding band that was stolen from a burglary yesterday, and we see the next day a pawn ticket was about a wedding band sold,” he said. “It’s usually gone and melted down before we’ve had a chance to see if it was possibly even the one.”
Gray said most people who lose a ring or jewelry item aren’t as upset over the monetary value as much as the sentimental value. Even if a thief is caught, it is often too late to return the item stolen.
“That’s the biggest thing,” Gray said, “trying to get these valuables, that are sentimental more than they are monetarily, back to the victims.”
Gray said some of the ordinances he’s looked at require pawn shops to keep items as long as 15 days, but he will work with city officials and the Fiscal Court to see what’s right for Danville and Boyle County.
Hockensmith said his shop usually keeps items about a week anyway, which he thinks is plenty of time.
“If somebody stole an expensive ring from my house, I’m going to know within a day,” he said.
The proposed draft will be ready around March 1, Gray said, and he would like for it to include scrap yards and other businesses that buy or sell precious metals.