AUGUSTA — A proposed ordinance regulating pawn shops and other stores selling secondhand items, softened after some business owners complained it went too far, goes back to city councilors Thursday.

The originally proposed requirement that records be kept of all transactions, and that all items purchased by a shop be held for at least 15 days before they are re-sold, were revised following complaints from secondhand-shop owners that keeping so many records would be burdensome. The business owners said keeping all items they take in for that long would require storage space they don’t have, and potentially even put them out of business.

In response, city police, who drafted the ordinance in an effort to make it easier to track down stolen items, now propose to change the requirement that secondhand stores create and maintain records of each purchase so it only applies to nine types of items, which police said are most likely to be stolen, and then only if the item is valued at more than $50.

The nine listed types of items that still will require record-keeping, if they are of more than $50 in value, are video game systems, televisions, digital photography and video equipment, mobile phones, GPS devices, computer equipment and related items, power tools, firearms, and jewelry.

“We have been meeting with the business owners who had concerns in the past and I believe this change addresses their concerns,” Deputy Chief Jared Mills said. “By only including items that are usually stolen, … it excludes the business owners who are trying to do the right thing. The original ordinance would have inundated them with paperwork and caused them to have to purchase or rent storage units to hold the property.”

Mills said the proposed ordinance was revised, by the city’s attorney, after officials met with shop owners to discuss their concerns.


It had been proposed by police to help them track stolen goods after thieves sell them, so the items would be easier to find if they are sold to shops, and so police could also determine who sold the stolen items to the shops.

Mills said the city now has no ordinance that requires secondhand dealers to record information about the sellers of items they purchase. Pawnbrokers, who lend money to people based on the value of the borrower’s personal property, which is turned over to the pawnbroker in exchange for the loan, already are required to keep such records. If the person who pawned an item doesn’t repay the loan within a specified time, the pawnbroker may sell the item.

The ordinance is based on one already in place in Auburn. Augusta police Chief Robert Gregoire said previously that Auburn’s ordinance requirement allowed Augusta police to solve thefts that occurred in Augusta because the thieves sold stolen merchandise to pawnbrokers and secondhand dealers in Auburn. He wants to bring a similar ordinance to Augusta.

City councilors are scheduled to review the revised Pawnbrokers and Secondhand Dealers Ordinance proposal at their 6:30 p.m. meeting Thursday in the council chamber at Augusta City Center.

Councilors also are scheduled to discuss setting the boundaries of a previously controversial new historic district centered around the Winthrop Street area on the west side of the Kennebec River. City councilors approved a new Historic District Ordinance last May. But because of resident complaints, councilors adopted the ordinance without setting its boundary lines and thus not designating which parts of the city would be subject to its rules. Property owners within the district would be required to have most building renovations that would be visible to the public scrutinized by a review board. The current proposal includes a smaller area of the west side within the district than the previous proposal.

They also are expected to discuss selling a tax-acquired property on Oxford Street and a proposed tax increment financing, or TIF, agreement, with the owner of the Inn at City Hall.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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