The Renton City Council is currently considering an ordinance that would require pawnbrokers to check a “Do Not Buy From” list to see if a person who is trying to sell an item is listed. A pawnbroker must check the list every time someone wants to pawn or sell an item.
The ordinance also requires a pawnbroker to report the description of the seller, including the person’s race, complexion and eye color, as well as the names and address of every person witnessing the transaction.
The staff report submitted to the Renton City Council claims that the ordinance is needed in response to a jump in property crimes and because stolen property “is showing up in our local pawn stores.” This claim is simply not true. As pawn shop owners and managers, we train employees to spot suspicious sellers and property and to contact police whenever we suspect something suspicious. Also, pawn shops are already required by state law to keep records of our sales and we have security cameras. These are reasons why stolen items don’t end up in pawn shops — rather they are sold online, at swap meets or on the street.
While this ordinance is being presented as a tool to help police solve crimes, it is costly and time consuming to business and not necessary. State and local laws already prohibit a pawnbroker from accepting stolen property. We already help reunite victims with lost or stolen items and we are always willing to work with Renton police to get property back to the rightful owner. For instance, Renton pawnbrokers provide Renton police with daily transaction reports. In addition, we hold items for a minimum of 30 days — and sometimes up to 120 days — before it becomes available for purchase. Requiring pawn shops to subscribe to an online service paid for with taxpayer dollars will only benefit the companies that sell those services.
We encourage the city council to oppose ordinance AB 1798, and we encourage the citizens of Renton to ask the city to not support needless regulations that discriminate against the public. Let’s work together to protect crime victims with meaningful regulation.
Nancy Cejudo (Ben’s Loan, Inc., Owner)
Kevin Opdahl (Washington State Pawnbrokers Association, President)
Dale Elison (Cash America District Manager, Renton #02 and Seattle #02)
Macario “Mac” Torres (Cash America District Manager, Renton #01)