Selling gold, silver in Fayetteville? Smile for cop cam
If you want to sell gold or silver jewelry in Fayetteville soon, your face and thumbprint will go into a police digital database first, under a proposed new ordinance being considered by the Fayetteville City Council.
Georgia two years ago enacted a law requiring that the buyers of precious metals comply with a number of new security measures to help protect against the sale of stolen merchandise.
The council is currently considering an ordinance that would tighten those restrictions to include a digital photo and thumbprint of the seller and a 30-day period before they buyer can dispose of the merchandise.
Peachtree City has similar measures already in place.
Fayetteville Police Chief Steve Heaton at the June 16 council meeting said the city recorded approximately 4,500 precious metals transactions from five locations in the city in the last year. Those transactions amounted to approximately $750,000 being paid out to sellers, Heaton said.
“We don’t have a way to make sure the seller is the owner of the item,” said Heaton, suggesting that the council consider the ordinance that was drawn up based on the measures instituted in other Georgia municipalities. “So we’re going a step further.”
Current Georgia law (O.C.G.A. 43-37) requires precious metals buyers to be registered and upon purchasing those metals to furnish local law enforcement with a daily written report of all precious metals transactions that contains the date and time of the purchase, the name, age and address of the seller verified by a photo ID, a clear and accurate description of the merchandise, the price paid and the signature of the seller.
The buyer must hold the items for at least seven calendar days prior to disposing of the merchandise and may be required by local law enforcement to hold the merchandise for an additional 15 days if there is probable cause that the merchandise was stolen.
The police-sponsored ordinance would up the ante on several of the state requirements.
The proposed additional requirements include photographing the seller’s face and the item being sold using a webcam, which the police department will provide, and taking a digital thumbprint. Heaton noted that the thumbprint requirement has been in place for the past six months. Also new is the requirement that the buyer hold the merchandise for 30 days.
“The state law requires a complete, detailed description of the seller and the merchandise being sold, but we’re not getting it,” Heaton said. “So all these things are meant to shore up any questions about the legitimacy of the seller and to make our case better if the item is stolen.”
Peachtree City has a similar procedure in place for buyer’s purchasing precious metals. The exception is that buyers in Peachtree City photograph the drivers license but not the seller’s face. Peachtree City also requires that buyers obtain a digital thumbprint and hold the merchandise for 30 days.
Heaton said the ordinance would also require that the digital information obtained at the time of the sale will be stored on the LeadsOnline database. LeadsOnline is a national online investigation service. The Fayetteville ordinance also has a $1 fee for each transaction to offset the $2,800 annual fee for the LeadsOnline service.
Officers in Fayetteville and Peachtree City reported that several theft cases have been solved using the enhanced identification procedures with the stolen merchandise being returned to the owner.
The second reading of the ordinance will be held at the July 21 council meeting.