Wednesday, June 14, 2000

Law aimed at secondhand stores

Swap shops' hours, purchases looked into

By Earnest Winston
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — City Council is considering a law that would regulate the hours of swap shops and secondhand merchandise dealers, and prohibit them from buying items from minors.

        The ordinance, expected to receive a first reading today, would require these businesses to buy a $100 license from the city finance director.

        Councilman Richard Holzberger said he and Councilman George McNally requested the ordinance because some “businesses and neighbors are concerned about the amount of ... illicit activities going on by patrons in several of these shops.”

        Ulus Patrick, owner of Main Street Swap Shop, said several swap shop dealers might hire an attorney to fight the ordinance.

        “They're really just trying to close down the swap shops,” Mr. Patrick said.

        He and other swap shop owners plan to attend the 7 p.m. council meeting, at 20 High St.

        The ordinance defines a swap shop or secondhand dealer as a person or corpo ration that purchases, sells, exchanges or receives merchandise previously traded or sold by a retailer.

        Under the ordinance, all swap shops and secondhand dealers would be required to keep accurate daily records of all transactions on forms available from the police department. The ordinance calls for the dealers and shop owners to hold for three days all secondhand articles obtained by “purchase, exchange, trade or receiving.” The ordinance would prohib it these businesses from purchasing any items between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m.

        Mr. Holzberger, a former Butler County sheriff, said the ordinance would require swap shops and secondhand dealers “to notify us when they take in precious metals, gems, TVs, VCRs, stereos and of course, firearms, so that the police have a chance to check them to make sure they're not stolen property.

        “We're just concerned about the items that are easily stolen and easily disposed of from burglaries and other thefts.”

        He said the ordinance would “reduce some of these thefts because (criminals) are going to have to go either out of town or find other clandestine means of disposing the stolen property.”

        Mr. Patrick said he should be allowed to keep his records confidential.

        “If I sent my records to the police department, then everybody all over the county will know about it,” he said.


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