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5/8/2013 6:00:00 AM
Pawn shop fee treats Mohave customers 'like criminals'
Rosalba Homer stands behind the counter at Pawn World at 201 E. Beale St. Tuesday.JC AMBERLYN/Miner
Rosalba Homer stands behind the counter at Pawn World at 201 E. Beale St. Tuesday.
JC AMBERLYN/Miner

Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa
Miner Staff Reporter


KINGMAN - After hearing from several angry pawnshop owners, the Mohave County Board of Supervisors postponed a decision on adding a dollar per transaction fee to pay for a new pawn ticket tracking system for the Sheriff's Office.

"This would be detrimental to our business. We're a small family-owned business," said Amber Smith, a Lake Havasu City pawnshop owner.

The fee would be passed on to her customers, which wouldn't make them happy, she said.

"You're taxing the poor," she said.

Smith also pointed out that the new system might be a violation of privacy laws, a concern echoed by at least one supervisor. The Board decided to move the item to its May 20 meeting.

Pawnshops are not allowed to release personal information to third party vendors, Smith said. They are required by state law to provide information to law enforcement agencies, but the Mohave County Sheriff's Office is asking pawnshops to provide a customer's name and address, along with a photo of the customer, a photo of the item being pawned and the customer's thumbprint to the new system, called LeadsOnLine.

"You're treating them like criminals. They're not criminals," Smith said.

District 5 Supervisor Steven Moss agreed.

"Pawnshops are banks for poor people. They don't have credit. They can't get a loan," he said. "Just because they're poor doesn't mean they're criminals.

"It seems like part of what we're seeing in the packet was mug shot, fingerprint and now you're permitted to borrow money to feed your family this week, and I thought that was somewhat dehumanizing."

The supervisors also questioned Chief Deputy Jim McCabe at length about securing the privacy of customers.

"Can we maybe bring this all back?" asked District 2 Supervisor Hildy Angius. "I just want to know about the issue about LeadsOnLine if by law they have to keep that information private, because that's a big issue for me."

McCabe explained that the new tracking system, LeadsOnLine, was considered an arm of law enforcement by the state. The contract the county would sign with the company would prohibit the use of the information for anything other than law enforcement investigations, he added.

Other pawnshop owners questioned how MCSO calculated the fee.

Jerry Homer, the owner of the two Pawn Worlds in Kingman, said he was told a subscription to the new system would cost the county around $6,000. His two shops handle approximately 12,000 new pawns a year.

Smith said her shop handled around 1,000 pawns and Steven Busch, the owner of the two Easy Pawns in Bullhead City and Fort Mohave, said his shops handled around 46,000 pawns in a year.

"How much do you need?" Homer asked. "I'm not opposed to the system, but a dollar a ticket is a lot. Kingman already charges us three dollars a pawn ticket.

"Fifty cents a ticket is more than reasonable. I would eat 50 cents a ticket."

"I'm not certain (the Office of Management and Budget's) numbers are accurate," Moss said.

McCabe said MCSO sent out surveys to the 11 pawnshops in the county, but only received four surveys back.

"We have no problem reducing the fee to 50 cents," he said.

A subscription to the system was originally going to cost the county approximately $6,000, McCabe said. However, the police departments from the three major cities in Mohave County have expressed an interest in the system and LeadsOnLine has offered the county and the cities a package deal of $17,000. It would have cost each department $6,000 if they had signed up for individual subscriptions.

"There are other costs associated with this," he said.

MCSO and each of the police departments have their own pawn details that investigate cases.

"We're looking at this as a tool that can help us and the pawnshops," McCabe said.

District 1 Supervisor Gary Watson suggested MCSO and the pawnshops work together to simplify the process.



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Related Stories:
• Pawn shops, Mohave County reach fee accord
• Mohave County Pawn Wars, Part II
• Pawnshop owners in Kingman cool to proposed fee


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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Article comment by: V Stokes

"Same arguments have been put forth about speed, seatbelt and DUI enforcement."

Of course those are about enforcing laws on the books and hopefully PREVENTING accidents and deaths, esp to the innocents struck and killed by the speeding, unbelted drunks.

Why should a buyer pay a fee to hopefully recover property and apprehend thieves? Do they ticket and fine people who don't speed, buckle up and don't drink and drive?

"So your point is … oh that’s right, nothing – as usual."

You asked what I thought in a prior post...now you know.

Nevermind...I forgot... you are always right and your opinion is the only one that counts...as usual.


Posted: Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

Victor

“Nice spin...”

No spin. I stated my opinions and nothing else.

And your visits to sleazy pawn shops (in my opinion) mean nothing to me. If you like shopping in such establishments, go for it.

“So...is this just an income source or is it actually to help reduce crime?”

Same arguments have been put forth about speed, seatbelt and DUI enforcement. So your point is … oh that’s right, nothing – as usual.


Posted: Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Article comment by: V Stokes

@ AN
Nice spin...
So you have no problem with a fee that you don't think you would ever pay but others will. Got it

And you find pawn shops to be, IYO, sleazy operations, though you have absolutely no direct knowledge of them, apparently. Got it

IMO...the fee should be decided AFTER the LE agencies decide what the system is going to cost AFTER all participating agencies commit. According to the info in the article, it might only cost $17K but yet one shop owner would pay $46K at a dollar per ticket fee. So...is this just an income source or is it actually to help reduce crime?

Btw...I don't know about shops here, as I've never been in any of them, but I have been in large shops in other areas that had jewelers on site for custom work and repairs. I remember one that was converted from a gun shop that had a shooting and archery range for trying out a purchase. Also one that had a quiet room for instrument and speaker testing. Well lit, shopper friendly, clean....like any good business should be.


Posted: Monday, May 13, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

Victor

“So you've never dealt with a pawn shop...but you find them sleazy? How would you know if you never dealt with one?”

See, again you make an incorrect statement. I did not say I “find them sleazy.” I said “…finding them, IN MY OPINION, to be sleazy operations.” So no, I don’t KNOW they are sleazy, but I guess it goes along with my never having been in a bar, because IN MY OPINION they are full of drunks (I base that OPINION on my parents who were drunks and hung out a bars). Or my never having stepped in front of a speeding truck because IN MY OPINION it would hurt a lot.

“And read where the fee is applied...if you were buying something...you don't pay the fee.”

Got me! Feel better? Good. However I stand by my assertion that WERE I to purchase anything in a sleazy pawnshop I would gladly pay an extra buck to make sure I wasn’t receiving stolen merchandise – say, perhaps a fee should be levied against the buyer as well as the seller? What do you think? But then I will never go in a pawnshop so the point is moot – right?


Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2013
Article comment by: LTD Investments

$1 per ticket more on top of $3? Here in NC that would be 91% of the amount that I charge for a $20 loan! What about the savings that this would bring to MCSO? Now they are having to manually input all the pawn transaction and the stolen reports but would with the new system only input the stolen reports into their system and LeadsOnline. Nationwide less than two tenths of items brought into a pawn shop get pickup by law enforcement as being stolen. Why do the other 98.8% of the pawn customers have to be treated like criminals. Would you like your photo taken and the amount of the check you deposited or cashed sent to law enforcement? Most pawn shops business are repeat customers. (About 95%) Some do dozens of repeat loans a year. I have no problem photographing buys but the pawn are held for 90 days, plenty of time for police to check and ask for me to photograph an item for them. Last year out of 4800 loans, I had only four police pickups. The jewelry store in the mall only doing gold buys had more than that with less than 500 buys!

Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2013
Article comment by: LOL Laugh

How is it that a private for profit company is considered an arm of the law? It is a complete privacy violation to all who are subjected to this proposal. Pawnshops are one of the most regulated businesses out there, already required to submit this same info to the local police departments minus the pictures of clients and goods. You know who isnt required to report to the local pd. EBay, Craigslist. Now where do you think the stolen property is really going. Use your heads people.

Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2013
Article comment by: Steve Moss

[Comment deleted for excessive length.]

Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2013
Article comment by: V Stokes

@Anson's Nephew
So you've never dealt with a pawn shop...but you find them sleazy? How would you know if you never dealt with one?

And read where the fee is applied...if you were buying something...you don't pay the fee. The person putting something in for pawn does. So you have no problem buying something at a discount that someone else was unable to redeem? But if you've never dealt with a pawnshop...how is that possible?


Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2013
Article comment by: Always Watching

I am disgusted and offended by the pawn shop owners representing themselves as advocates for the "poor". These advocates for the poor regularly charge between 125% and 300% interest on pawned items. This is not a bank for poor people. It is more like organized crime. DO NOT FEEL SORRY FOR THESE PAWN SHOPS. They are a business that needs to be monitored by law enforcement.

Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Article comment by: Doing Research

"Pawnshops are banks for poor people. They don't have credit. They can't get a loan," he said. "Just because they're poor doesn't mean they're criminals.

No, banks are banks for poor people.

Pawn shops are where people trade something in for less than it's worth to get immediate cash because they plan poorly.

Some local entrepreneur should open up a Kiva micro-lending office and undercut the pawn shops.


Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Article comment by: MO CO RIDER

$1.00 extra really? when over a 70% mark up is being made? Hurra to law enforcement for trying to do a better job tracking stolen goods! I know ive been a victim in this down turned economy of thieves, we work hard for our stuff. daylight is for D.E.S. and night time is for the nice neighborhoods! Good job law enforcement on this idea! ( from a biker, no doubt)

Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

I will admit right up front that I have never dealt with a pawnshop – finding them, in my opinion, to be sleazy operations. However, I would not object to paying a $1 fee to insure that merchandise I might buy is not stolen and that thieves are not dumping stolen goods into the system.

And it makes me highly suspicious of anyone who would be against such a simple and inexpensive theft deterrent.


Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Article comment by: Warren AO

'McCabe explained that the new tracking system, LeadsOnLine, was considered an arm of law enforcement by the state. The contract the county would sign with the company would prohibit the use of the information for anything other than law enforcement investigations, he added.'

But that assurances are there that this 'LeadsOnLine'* company is adequately protecting the records it keeps in its online databases?

In a world where AT&T and banks are regularly cracked and their information made publicly available, this idea absolutely stinks to high heaven.

--

* LeadsOnLine's initials are 'LOL'. Think about that.


Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Article comment by: Paul Bearer

I have to ask the obvious question.

What about jewelery stores, second hand stores, Craigslist buyers, etc., etc.

How will this prposal affect policing the so called legitimate buyers from off the street?

If a thief "pawns" something do you really expect that they will redeem the item? Don't they typically just sell stolen goods outright?

If jewelry stores and 2nd hand buyers aren't included in this deal it smacks dead in the face of discrimination.




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