Delaware News

Delaware City Council

New rules for secondhand vendors struck down

By

The Delaware City Council put the brakes on proposed legislation that police officials say would help track down property thieves.

Council members said at a meeting last week the proposed system -- which would require businesses that deal with previously owned property to photograph every seller and keep records of those photos -- would be an unnecessary burden.

At its Sept. 10 meeting, council voted 6-1 against the proposal after its first reading, despite suggestions by interim Delaware City Police Chief Bruce Pijanowski that it could be tweaked and streamlined.

"It's not my intention to interfere with free enterprise or personal freedoms, but if someone just lost $7,000 in jewelry, that's not something I take lightly," he said.

Councilman Joe DiGenova cast the sole vote in favor of the new rules, which were aimed at helping police track down property thieves even across city lines by creating a searchable online database of sellers.

It would have affected only the trade of precious metals and jewels.

The city of Columbus already uses the system and requires all secondhand vendors to participate by taking a photo of every individual selling valuable items.

Under the new system, shops are required to upload those photos to an online database along with information about the purchased property. That property must then be held for up to seven days before resale.

The state already requires secondhand vendors to hold valuable items, but for a shorter period of time, just five days. The current rules also require vendors to keep paper records of all transactions.

Local secondhand shop owners spoke out against the proposed system at the Sept. 10 meeting, calling it costly, time-consuming and an invasion of privacy.

John Michael Tomaso, owner of Liberty Coins, said it was "over the top" and an "administrative nightmare."

"A mom-and-pop shop can't be expected to do all of this," Tomaso said. "I'd have to hire someone full-time (to maintain the records.) It's oppressive enough that I'd have to leave town.

"We're talking about private citizens who have done nothing wrong. They have legitimate concerns over privacy," he added.

David Kessler, owner of Sandusky Street Antiques, was concerned that the rules would interfere with his ability to put new inventory up for sale.

Six council members agreed strongly enough to strike it down before it could see a second reading. Several objected to the policy because it would require by law that vendors own a camera and maintain Internet access.

"I'm not interested in adding more work for business owners,"Mayor Gary Milner said.

In other business, council approved the issuance of a bond totaling $1.5 million to pay for work on Glenn Road, including excavating, grading, paving, drainage installation, signage, road- marking and landscaping.

The ordinance was approved by a 7-0 vote following a second reading at the Sept. 4 meeting.

Council also authorized plans to implement a new bus stop on Park Avenue. The stop will be located between South Washington and South Liberty streets on a stretch of Park Avenue that is currently a "no parking" zone.

Comments