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Store cited for not reporting scrap jewelry purchases

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By JENNIFER HORTON
The Wilson Post

Authorities will consult with the District Attorneys Office regarding charges against a local store where an employee reportedly purchased some property even though he had been informed that it was stolen and also did not obtain information on the sellers identity.

A search warrant was served by the Lebanon Police Department on Feb. 2 at The Silver Store, located at 1216 West Main Street, Lebanon, after investigators had received information that state law regarding the purchase of scrap jewelry and metal dealers was not being followed.

Lebanon Police Chief Scott Bowen said Tuesday that a confidential informant was sent in by the LPD to try and sell a necklace. The store employee offered the CI some money for the necklace and when the CI told the employee that it was stolen, the employee dropped the price and he bought it anyway.

Bowen said a law passed by the state legislature in 2009 treats so-called gold stores just like pawn shops in that once they obtain merchandise they cannot sell it for 30 days to allow law enforcement time to see if it is stolen and to identify who sold the item, or items, to the store.

The law required him (the person at The Silver Store) to report to us what was taken in and the person selling it, Bowen said, adding the law gives police a way to retrieve property that might have been stolen and also a way to find the person who sold the property.

Stores that buy items, especially those that purchase items knowing they are stolen, and then turn around and sell them again are essentially fencing the property, the chief said.

Its irresponsible. We hope it sends a message to pawn shops and gold stores, he said, adding that failure to report the purchase of such items and the identity of the seller is a Class A misdemeanor. A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to 11 months and 29 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

Cases like these fuel property crimes such as burglary, Bowen said. Cases such as this one gives criminals an opportunity to sell stolen property without detection thus making law enforcements job tougher.

With the economy in a slow-down the past few years, a number of stores dealing in scrap jewelry and precious metal have opened nationwide. While many are legitimate, some are not and that is why the law was passed by the state legislature in 2009 to treat them the same as pawn shops.

Were trying to make it as hard on the criminals as we can, Bowen said.

Once approved by the District Attorneys Office, charges related to reported violations found in the investigation will be presented to the Wilson County grand jury.

Editor Jennifer Horton may be contacted at news@wilsonpost.com.

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