Erie County passes law to help police recover stolen goods sold to pawn shops

ERIE COUNTY, N.Y. (WIVB) — Erie County’s pawn shops may soon be under more scrutiny by police if Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz signs a recently passed law by the Erie County Legislature.

The Pawn Shop Law, passed unanimously on Thursday, would help law enforcement recover stolen property fenced to pawn shops and second-hand stores. The law would mandate shops hold items for two weeks before putting them up for sale, allowing police time to recover them if reported as stolen.

Lawmakers say the law took effort to get right, and is also crafted to prevent the immediate melting down of jewelry, as some pawn shops have taken to.

“For many victims, the sentimental loss is greater than the monetary value,” Legislator Lynne Dixon said. “Requiring that merchandise be held for two weeks gives law enforcement some time to track down an item before it is sold or destroyed.”

Lawmakers hope in addition to reclaiming stolen property, they’ll be able to track down those who steal it. Another stipulation of the law requires pawn shops to keep photo identification of those who they buy items from. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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