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Council set to act on amended rules for resellers, recyclers

Updated: January 9, 2013 7:36PM

ELGIN — The city council Wednesday is expected to move along amending Elgin’s licensing rules for resale, pawnbroker and recyclable dealers in order to incorporate new safeguards against accepting stolen items.

The proposed amendments will require those dealers to log items accepted for resale into a national, Web-based database called LeadsOnline.

Elgin police already use LeadsOnline to help recover stolen property. The annual cost of the LeadsOnline Internet-based data warehouse would be $10,588 and has been requested as part of the police department’s 2013 budget.

“Maintaining the LeadsOnline database also makes it easier for pawn, resale and recycle shops to track the items they receive, further enhancing the police department’s ability to quickly identify stolen items,” supporting material for the Wednesday meeting states.

The affected businesses would not be charged a fee for using LeadsOnline, but would be required to have a computer with Internet access for uploading data to LeadsOnline.

LeadsOnline also would provide a free digital camera to businesses to photograph items presented for resale and the person tendering the resale item.

The proposed amendments would require “identifiable articles” to be logged in this database. Identifiable articles are defined as items that have a serial number, applied numbers, letters, characters or markings. Items presented for resale that have unique characteristics distinguishing them from other similar items also would be required to be logged as an identifiable article.

On such items there would be a 10-day waiting period for resale, too, and record keeping rules. The business also would have to collect vehicle information pertaining to the article’s seller, when applicable, and get a signed statement from a seller stating that he or she is over 18 years of age and is the legal owner of the article.

For merchandise lacking unique identifying markings or characteristics, the waiting period for businesses reselling them would be three days. Bulk reporting of articles such as steel, copper and aluminum would be allowed as long as those items are sufficiently described.

The police department also is encouraging residents to register their valuables with the citizen portal of LeadsOnline. This link is available in the police section of the city’s website and in the “How To” area on the city’s main page under “Register.”

To further discourage crooks from unloading stolen goods at pawn shops, cash for trade places or resale shops, Elgin police are charging one count of theft for stealing the item from its original owner and a second for stealing cash from the shop in question.

Elgin has two pawnshops. Windy City Jewelry & Loan, 943 N. McLean Blvd., opened in early 2001. Cash Converters, 1460 Main Lane, was approved to open this summer.

Windy City manager Stacy Whetstone said the shop has been working closely with Elgin Police since opening and already has been using LeadsOnline to check if an item can legitimately be resold. The policy is the same at Cash Converters.

Elgin Assistant City Manager Rick Kozal said the rule changes have been on the police department’s radar since long before the opening of the most recent pawnbroker.

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