Alamogordo council backs update to pawnbrokers ordinance

By Casey Torres

May 14, 2018

ALAMOGORDO, N.M. – Albuquerque city councilors have proposed tighter regulations on pawn shops in an effort to lower property crime rates, and they’re not alone. Last week, the City of Alamogordo tentatively approved an update to its ordinance on pawnshops.

The final decision on the ordinance will be made in June. If passed, pawnbrokers must ditch the paper trail and input information from sellers in an online database.

“There’s a company called Leads Online and what Leads Online does, it computerizes and it tracks items that are pawned or sold to pawn shops,” Police Chief Brian Peete said.

Peete said the program will cost the department about $4,000 per year and it will be paid for with taxpayer money. The new ordinance does not apply to thrift stores, only pawnshops.

“It’s been a long time since we have had an actual item that was brought in stolen,” said Robert Estrada, who owns G I Joe Pawn Shop. It happens but not as often as people think.”

Every day, Estrada sends in his logs for the items he’s purchased. He includes a description of the item and the identifications of the sellers.

Peete said it’s not easy to find stolen items solely on a description on paper. With the online program, pawnbrokers will also have to input a picture of the item and serial numbers.

“We have access to know real time what it was that they’ve been given and if someone’s house was stolen again,” Peete said. “We go (to Leads Online), you find and get a description of the item, put it into the computer and you have a possible identifier.”

Peete adds that this new system will cut the time it takes to find an item and allow officers to focus on other cases.

Estrada said he doesn’t mind more regulations, as long as they help cut down on crime.