Changes to Pawn Shop Rules in Richmond County - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Changes to Pawn Shop Rules in Richmond County

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Coverage you can count on begins with a proposal in Richmond County that would make it easier to track stolen jewelry.

Augusta-Richmond County commissioners approved new rules to track stolen jewelry and other merchandise.

It would mean pawn shops and other similar businesses that deal with gold, precious metals or pawned items would have to change the way they do business.

The rules would force those businesses to enter information like thumb prints and pictures of merchandise into a database.

Some pawn shop owners say this will cost them more money to get the devices.

Other pawn shop owners say investigators should team up with other law enforcement agencies in nearby counties.

Noel Rhoads has pawned many things at Mr. Pawn Shop –from guns to guitars.

"We are very thorough about taking their ids. We put all their information into a system and back that into 2 hard drives," said Scott Peebles with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

About 10 times a year, Rhoads says he has to get the cops involved because of stolen goods. And to curb crime, investigators want pawn shop owners to start installing thumb print scanners.

"Who they bought it from, what their biographical information is, their thumbprint identity, in case there is false identity," said Peebles.

"If they are going to instigate a new system, it should be for the entire CSRA and that way by that night we know that put it and from where.  That way if someone steals something from Aiken, that night when we upload to their server, they have a name, an ID," said Noel Rhoads.

"We have seen positive cases in other areas like Athens. We thinking it will make us more efficient to solve cases if we can't reduce it," said Peebles.

Pawn dealers will have to fork out about a hundred bucks for the new devices.

"It is better for everyone – better for the pawn shop owners, better for law enforcement, better for the victim," said Rhoads.

"It frees up the investigator. It makes all of it searchable," said Peebles.

"It is the economy – there are no jobs out there, plants are closing and sometimes it pushes good people to do bad things," said Peebles.

Pawn shop owners say people need to list and keep track of their serial numbers, and possibly take pictures of expensive items like laptops and flat screen TVs.

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