Alton ordinance targets stolen goods

February 18, 2022

By Dylan Suttles

ALTON — City officials are looking to use a tool approved by the county nearly three years ago to address the sale of stolen goods.

At Tuesday’s committee of the whole meeting, aldermen will discuss amending Tile Four, Chapter 10, Sections 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 of the Alton city code of ordinances to create a new chapter called “Pawnbrokers and Secondhand Sellers.”

In March 2019, the Madison County Board approved an ordinance requiring pawn and second-hand stores to electronically submit lists of items taken in. Those businesses were required to participate in the LeadsOnline system, in which dealers daily upload information on items that law enforcement agencies can access.

Officials said most of the pawnbrokers in Alton already use the LeadsOnline system and the resolution is catching the city up with the county ordinance.

According to the proposed resolution, Alton Police have found that identifying and retrieving stolen goods from pawnbrokers and secondhand sellers — as well as identifying the people who sold the stolen items — can be a “difficult and labor-intensive” task. The resolution says the city’s use of LeadsOnline would give Alton Police the ability to determine when stolen goods are sold on Ebay, in pawn shops and in secondhand stores such as Gamestop.

The ordinance would require pawnshops and secondhand buyers in Alton to register with LeadsOnline and record the name, address, date of birth and a government ID card of any pawner or customer. They also would be required to take a photo of any item and record identifying information, such as serial number, description and color.

Alton Police would pay for the LeadsOnline registration, with no costs to pawnbrokers or secondhand dealers. Pawnbrokers and secondhand dealers who fail to comply with the Alton ordinance could face a $500 fine for the first offense and a $1,000 fine for each subsequent violations.

The ordinance would not apply to the sale of used vehicles or to donations to charitable organizations for resale.

Also on Tuesday, aldermen are scheduled to discuss:

  • The closure of Broadway to facilitate a “Fat Tuesday Survival” event 5-9 p.m. on Tuesday, March 1.
  • Amending the city nuisance code pertaining to assault and battery; possession, manufacture or delivery of methamphetamine; and violation of the Litter Control Act.
  • Authorizing a letter of intent with Student Athletes Leading Tomorrow to improve the tennis courts on the southern end of Rock Spring Park.
  • Making improvements to College Avenue from Pullman Street to Johnson Street; Rock Spring Drive from Memorial Drive to College Avenue; Johnson Street from College Avenue to Tremont Street; and College Avenue from Johnson Street to Pleasant Street.