HB 1282 - Study Automated Pawn Systems
The CJIN Board meeting on January 28, 2009 was structured to receive input and generate discussion regarding the feasibility of developing and maintaining an automated statewide pawn transaction system. The Staff solicited input from various law enforcement agencies, their officers and deputies, information technology personnel, and pawn shop owners. The Board received presentations and comments from professionals that work within this field. The staff conducted a variety of workshops following the January meeting to gain the necessary information to assemble a report for the Legislative Oversight Committee, which was submitted on March 31, 2010. The study report can be viewed in the â€œReportsâ€ section of this website.
Wake County Overview
Mark Eisele, IT Manager, Wake County Sheriff's Office
Richard Bargfrede, City of Raleigh Police Department
Mark Eisele, Wake County IT Department and Rich Bargfrede, Detective with Raleigh Police Department. Mark and Rich gave the Board an overview of the process that Wake County and the City of Raleigh use to obtain Pawn Transactions. They shared with the Board screen shots of their system as it is not available outside of their network. This was a system that was built in-house by Raleigh PD.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and Guilford County Sheriff's Office
Lt. Kim Simma with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. Lt. Simma introduced Dick Evans and Tom Geisler from the IT Department who assisted her with the live demonstration of their existing system in Charlotte. Detective David Shaw from the Guilford County Sheriff's Office was also there to assist in the presentation. The system used in Charlotte and Guilford is called PawnTracker. This system is accessed through a secured connection to the individual departments. Dick and Kim both explained how this system could be adapted for potential state-wide implementation. Tom explained how the ordinances in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County allowed the system to also include precious metals, pawn transaction information and scrap metal for a parallel effort.
Detective Simma came back to the CJIN Board to express concerns regarding Pawn ATMs that where being placed in Charlotte area malls. These self-service kiosks allow a patron to scan a barcode and the machine "offers" a price for the device and if the patron accepts the offer, the machine takes the device and gives cash to the recipient. The concern that Detective Simma has is it is a good way to "pawn" stolen goods, as the ATMs do not report to the police what goods were transacted on any given day, as pawn shops do have to report their transactions. For more information, please see the following articles:
Scrap Metal Discussion
Detectives Kim Simma, Tom Geisler and Dave Hunter
Sgt. Terry Hake, Wake County Sheriff's Office
Chairman Brinson introduced Detectives Kim Simma, Tom Geisler, and Dave Hunter, from Charlotte Mecklenburg PD and Sgt. Terry Hake with Wake County Sheriff's Office. Kim stated that she appreciated the Board allowing her to come back and discuss her concerns regarding scrap metal within her county. Kim presented to the Board on Charlotte's Pawn Shop program for the Pawn Shop Transaction Report that CJIN presented to the Legislature.
Detective Simma stated that scrap metal is a very hot item, along with gold buying and other precious metal purchasing, due to the price of precious metals right now. Scrap cars has been a major problem due to the wording of the statue. Detective Simma requested that the Board help with possible legislative changes or other means in which to provide a better tracking method and prevention for selling scrap metal. There has been some improvement, but there needs to be more in order for law enforcement to have better ability to enforce and prevent criminals from selling items that are stolen to scrap metal dealers. Detective Simma stated that in her discussions with Crystal Cody the COPLINK system that will be operational in Charlotte Mecklenburg will not have the necessary capabilities to do what Detective Simma feels is necessary to gather information on scrap metal dealers for the purposes of prosecution. Chairman Brinson stated that since COPLINK and LInX are incident based systems, that Detective Simma would like to see a database that allowed for items that were to be converted to cash or scrap metal. Since Charlotte-Mecklenburg is so close to the SC state line, it is hard with the laws differing in each state to determine which suspected persons are going across county and state line to dispose of stolen property. This type of database would help to determine that information.
Dave Hunter, the Automotive Detective from Charlotte-Mecklenburg PD, stated to the Board that he had met with Representative Tim Moore about trends with auto theft. Taking cars in for scrap metal, since the law is that if the vehicle is 10 years old it does not require a title. This has allowed for criminals to go into residential neighborhoods and take vehicles out of driveways for scrap and there is no trace of them after they are crushed. In 2011, there were over 2,000 cars stolen in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, 1,291 of them were older than 10 years. The Detective would like to see more stringent laws that increase the years from 10 to 20 for no title.
Detective Tom Geisler of Charlotte-Mecklenburg PD, stated that the sell of A/C units or catalytic convertors is an issue, since the law requires you to be in business to sell, use, or otherwise have possession of those items, but people were going to the scrap yards with business cards that they made on their home computers in order to sell the items they had stolen. The law doesn't state how you prove you are a dealer, or authorized retailer, so if there were more stringent forms of accountability it would hopefully ensure less items stolen. Detective Geisler also stated that the seller of an item receives immediate cash for his deposit. The detective would like to see a holding period as with pawn dealers, prior to the release of funds, to determine if the item is stolen.
Sgt. Terry Hake with the Wake County Sheriff's Office stated that the largest problem for Wake is auto theft on the interstates. Sgt. Hake has been working with Johnston County, Raleigh PD and others to try and curtail this problem. The punishment isn't in Sgt. Hake's opinion strong enough to ensure that the person convicted does not do it again. Sgt. Hake also stated that there is an exception to the 10 year title rule, which is if the vehicle has been totaled, so criminals are stealing the cars, wrecking them with something like a front-end loader, and then they get around the 10 year title rule. Sgt. Hake would also like to see a way of helping church's whose A/C units have been stolen and scraped, to ensure that it doesn't happen again through statue.
Fayetteville Police Department, Jacksonville Police Department, Cumberland and Onslow County Sheriff's Office
Lt. Matt Hurley, Cumberland County Sheriff's Office
Matt Hurley from the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office provided the Board with a live demonstration of the Pawn Transaction system used in the above agencies. Matt showed how Leads-On-Line was a valuable asset to these agencies as it allowed for a variety of areas to be searched nationally and not just locally, this was important to the agencies represented as they are surrounded by military bases and the clientele are transitional. Matt also discussed the important of the vendor's interaction with NCIC.
Pawn Shop Owner and Director of the National Associatoin of Pawn Shop Owners
Bob Moulton, National and NC Pawn Brokers Association
Bob Moulton shared with the CJIN Board his background and experiences. Mr. Moulton explained to the Board what changes and recommendations he and other Pawn Shop Owners, including Dave Beck, also a member of the NC Pawn Association, felt should be made to the existing statues and their reasoning.