Albuquerque city councilors considering proposed pawnbroker ordinance

Politics - Government

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Holding pawnbrokers, precious material dealers, and second-hand sellers accountable to help curb property crime is the goal of a new proposed ordinance from an Albuquerque city councilor. City Councilor Diane Gibson said the ordinance is meant to make it harder for thieves to sell stolen items and give police and the courts another tool to get convictions.

Everybody is susceptible, just by nature of the business, you hang out a sign that says we buy second-hand goods, you’re inviting the bad guys to come in,” said Gibson. She believes that most businesses are already doing their part but still thinks more needs to be done on behalf of these businesses to help curb property crime.

“Photo of the person’s face, color photo, it has to have sharp discernible features,” said Gibson. “As well as a photo of the merchandise they’re bringing in.”

That’s among the added regulations in her proposed ordinance that would apply to not only pawn brokers but secondhand dealers and precious metal buyers, too. The bill would also continue to require these shops to hold items they take in for at least 30 days.

“We already comply to 99.9 percent to what this ordinance is speaking about,” said Robert Gorelick, who owns Old Town Jewelry & Loan, which is one of Albuquerque’s longest running pawn shops. 

Gorelick said he’ll support the proposed changes as long as it ensures each business is regulated.

“We don’t mind a change in ordinance to help protect the people of Albuquerque, we really want crime to stop in this city, we want it to be much lower than it is,” said Gorelick. “We will do anything in our power to help that.”

This is the first time the ordinance lists specific items that would have to be photographed. That includes everything from guns and electronics, to jewelry and musical instruments. Gibson said the District Attorney’s Office believes the pictures would help bring more property theft cases to court.

This legislation would also give pawn shops and those other businesses the option to appeal to a city hearing officer if they think they were wrongly cited for accepting stolen goods.

The Albuquerque City Council will vote on the proposed ordinance Monday at 3 p.m. via Zoom. 

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