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Revised Pawn Shop Ordinance Shot Down By City Council

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WGGB) — A familiar, but intense debate over pawn shop and second hand junk dealing regulations played out in Springfield.
The city council shot down a proposal that would increase the number of days second hand dealers have to keep items before selling from 10 to 30 days.

“I would like to see my business thrive in the City of Springfield for many more years and in order to do this I need you to please vote no!” the owner of Springfield Jewelry and Diamond Exchange during the public speak out portion of the meeting.

He was apart of a loud group of pawn brokers and junk dealers that jammed into city hall, pleading with councilors to reject a bill that makes them keep items in hand for 30 days before re-selling.

“It’s like if you wanted to sell a stock today, you’d have to wait 30 days to get whatever the market rate is,” Michael Sarkis of Springfield Jewelry and Diamond Exchange on Sumner Avenue said. “How could any do business like that?”

The ordinance would have also required store owners to photo document customers and items, but in the end, after intense debate councilors voted for the second time in two months to keep the hold period to 10 days. Those like Sarkis are relieved.

“This is two strikes in a row. I think the people have spoken and I think the council has spoken,” he said. “I don’t see any further need to pursue this matter.”

Police say the ordinance would have given them more time and resources to track items stolen in the more than 1,000 break ins each year in the city. Maria Cardinale was the victim of a violent invasion.

“There’s a lot more to it than just the monitary value and possessions. It’s about your home being invaded and your privacy being invaded,” she said.

Supporters say stolen items resold at pawn shops are often times the only evidence police have to track down criminals and can’t figure out why other councilors don’t see that.

“If the police are asking for help, why is the council and the city not giving that help that they need,” Cardinale asked.

Most second hand dealers at Monday night’s meeting say they already screen and police themselves from purchasing stolen items to resell.


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