Pawn shop ordinance not enforced
MASSAC COUNTY, Ill. — Last fall, the McCracken County Fiscal Court adopted an ordinance requiring those buying secondhand items, such as jewelry, to report the seller's information in an electronic database.
That database is called LeadsOnline and it's helped investigators recover stolen property.
But now, the ordinance isn't being enforced and some local businesses refuse to use the database.
Why isn't this being enforced? The sheriff said the ordinance is way too broad.
It requires everyone who buys or sells anything to report the transaction to the sheriff's department.
The way it's written, even yard sales aren't exempt, which the sheriff said just isn't practical.
While most pawn shops use leads online, the assistant county attorney said some local gold buyers are complaining because they don't like entering their customers' information into an online database.
"The first ring that he ever got me was the cluster one carrot and that meant a lot," Jeanette Brenningmeyer said.
It's just like all the rings Brenningmeyer has gotten from her husband in the 27 years they've been married.
"I know it's material stuff but when somebody gives you something, it means something to you," Brenningmeyer said.
After talking to police, Brenningmeyer took to local pawn shops and quickly learned about LeadsOnline, an electronic database where store owners register their purchases. That information is then sent to police.
The problem is, even though everyone is supposed to use it, they don't, and the county stopped enforcing the ordinance because it's just too broad. Brenningmeyer said one gold buyer explained why she refuses to comply.
"They see all kinds of stuff and it was busy in there and she said she had to protect the privacy of her seller. Well, what about the privacy of the person that got stolen from? I walked out to my car and said to myself, what a thief," Brenningmeyer said.
Local pawn shop owners say they hope the county hurries up with the ordinance because they say right now, things aren't fair. They are obeying the local law, while their gold buying neighbors are not.
"The whole point of the ordinance is to prevent crime," said Assistant McCracken County Attorney Todd Jones, who will soon start writing a more practical, enforceable ordinance.
He said every county business will have to get on board after it passes.
"If the 1 percent does not comply, they'll have to face the consequence of not complying with the ordinance," he said.
Brenningmeyer only wishes that could've been done sooner and her sentimental jewelry could've been saved.
"I just want my rings back, which I will probably never get them back. They're gone I'm sure," Brenningmeyer said.
The Brenningmeyers want to locate this jewelry so badly, they're offering a $1,000 reward to anyone providing information that leads to the recovery of the stolen jewelry. If you have any information about this case, you're urged to call the Massac County Sheriff's Department.
Jones said there will be a provision in the new ordinance that includes those gold buyers. The Sheriff would reach out to the company ahead of time and let them know if they want to do business in McCracken County they'll have to follow the rules.
Jones said the penalty for not complying with the new ordinance will likely be a fine or jail time.
He hopes to have the ordinance drafted and approved within a month.