Pawn shop ordinance tops Clinton City Council agenda

CLINTON -- The Clinton City Council is set to read an ordinance for the second time Tuesday which will curb crime at local pawn shops, secondhand stores and consignment stores.

The ordinance will clearly define regulations placed on to store owners and employees which will allow Clinton law enforcement officials to intercept stolen or illegally obtained items falling in to the store's hands knowingly or unknowingly.

The ordinance requires pawnbrokers or owners of secondhand or consignment shops to electronically register every transaction in an online database. If a registered item is known by Clinton police to be stolen, department officials will have the right to enter the business, examine the items and possibly confiscate them.

The legislation doesn’t infringe upon any current business-owner rights, according to Clinton Police Capt. Joe Raaymakers, the department’s commander of investigations. Businesses will be required to keep “accurate, detailed accounts of sale, purchase, pawn, trade, or exchange,” serial and model numbers of items purchased or sold and the date and time of the transaction.

Though the Council has held the first reading, some language in the ordinance has raised concern from local business owners. After conferring with those owners, the Council decided last week that a slightly different version of the ordinance – nothing drastic, officials ensured – would return to the council for necessary readings before it becomes law.

The ordinance set for passage Tuesday received slight scrutiny from local business owners at first reading. Don's Jewelry owners Dan and Sheralyn Bartels spoke to the council at a meeting in late June regarding the new protocol's effect on their business. The owners were concerned with language in the legislation that, in their eyes, would require the need for staffing additions -- additions they would be financially unable to support.

After the owners' meetings with city officials and Clinton Police administrators, the Council decided on a slightly altered version of the ordinance which is up for its second reading Tuesday. The ordinance must pass a third reading before it becomes part of the city code.

The city's tobacco sales ordinance is also set for a second reading and the adoption of tanning facility protocol will receive a third reading.

The Clinton City Council will meet Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Clinton City Hall, 611 S. Third St. The council's Committee of the Whole will convene directly after the regular council business meeting.