By Steve Rensberry, Editor
Marine Coin Company owner Bill Weder is protesting a decision by the Madison County Board and Sheriff’s Department to pass an ordinance forcing all “pawnbrokers, second-hand dealers, and coin dealers” in the the county to report daily transaction using the LeadsOnline database.
The data to be uploaded each day for each item is relatively extensive, including photos of the item, physical composition, and other details, as well as considerable information about the customers themselves, including drivers license information.
Weder said he understands the desire of law enforcement to make it as easy as possible to investigate stolen property, but said it’s not fair to burden business owners with documenting, cataloging and uploading such detail on a daily basis.
A letter from the Sheriff’s Office to business owners notes that “uploading is a very simple and secure process taking less than 30 seconds per day, and their service is free to you and customers.”
The time and labor it takes to get everything ready to upload, however, is what concerns Weder, time which he says a small operation his size simply can’t afford.
In a letter to Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons, dated July 6, Weder stated that they have begun preparations to close the business “at or before” the end of the year.
“Due to the nature of our type of business, it is not feasible for us to operate efficiently and comply with the new Madison County Illinois Resale Dealers Act (815ILCS 398),” Weder stated in the letter. “Therefore, to avoid any risk to our good reputation, we will curtail the purchase of second hand items such as coins, currency and jewelry, and shorten our store hours from six days to four days a week.”
Madison County passed the ordinance on March 20, giving businesses a 90 day grace period in which to comply.
“LeadsOnline is a web-based, secure Electronic Data Transfer (EDT) service designed by business owners and law enforcement agencies to facilitate the recovery of missing personal property,” the Sheriff’s letter states. “We believe LeadsOnline’s system will provide significant improvements over the current reporting process, saving both time and taxpayer dollars.”
Businesses were asked to being registering their store or stores online in April. Pawnbrokers who were previously required to report their transactions by mail will no longer be required to do so, in leu of the new procedures.
Under the county ordinance, pawnbrokers are defined at “any person or entity who, within Madison County, Illinois loans money on deposit or plege of personal property, secondhand goods, wares, merchandise or other valuable things, or who deals in the purchasing or personal property, secondhand goods, wares merchandice or other valuable things on the condition of selling the same back at a stipulated price.”
A secondhand dealer is defined as “any person or entity, who, within Madison County, Illinois, as a business, engages in the purchase, sale, trade, barter, or exchange of secondhand goods, wares or merchandise; or any person who keeps any store, shop, room, or placd where secondhand good, wares or merchandise or any kind of description, are bought, sold, traded, bartered, recycled or exchanged.”
Weder has taken steps to notify customers of the changes. A classified ad from the business states: “A new Madison County ordinance will require us to document and photograph each items we purchase from customers along with the personal information on a driver’s license or I.D. We regret having to burden you with this inconvenience.”