Modesto antique store owners recently came to an agreement with Modesto Police chief Galen Carroll on how the city will enforce state regulations aiming to cut down on the sale of stolen property.
Local law enforcement began stopping by antique businesses to help them get into compliance with an update on a state law requiring all secondhand dealers and pawnbrokers switch to an electronic reporting system.
So what is the state law in the center of discussion?
All pawn businesses and stores selling secondhand items are required to have a specific license, different from just a regular business license.
The Business and Professions Code, Section 21628 requires all secondhand dealers and pawnbrokers to report all items received and purchased or taken into trade or pawn. The items must be described in full detail and the identity of the seller must be confirmed through proper identification such as a passport or driver's license. The law also mandates all sellers show a certificate showing ownership of property and that stores take fingerprints of all sellers to put into the Department of Justice database.
Additionally, business owners are required to hold items purchased for 30 days before being sold.
If the law had already been in place, why enforce it now?
According to Heather Graves, spokesperson for the Modesto Police Department, the law has always been enforced but the recent checks are due to the California Department of Justice's decision to go paperless. Licensed business owners used to write up item reports by hand to be checked by law enforcement but in 2012, a bill passed requiring all secondhand stores and pawnbrokers to switch to an electronic reporting system.
The new system, called the California Pawn and Secondhand Dealer System (CAPSS), is a uniform system aiming to crack down on stolen property that went into effect in 2015. It requires business owners have a laptop or desktop and web access. CAPSS is fully funded by licensed users but free to use by law enforcement agencies.
Modesto police are helping licensed secondhand shop owners get into compliance with the electronic changes, according to Graves.
However, local businesses argued the new system is unreasonable and expensive, since the new changes require an electronic signature pad and a fingerprint scanner. Many store owners also claimed their locations don't have enough room to store items for the 30 days mandatory before sale.
The Modesto Police Chief reached an agreement with antique shops and secondhand businesses only requiring jewelry worth more than $950 abide by the law.