City updates ordinance pertaining to pawnbrokers

By Tara Melton

May 11, 2018

ALAMOGORDO – City Commissioners approved updating the ordinance pertaining to pawnbrokers and secondhand dealers at their Tuesday meeting.

“There’s a program online called Leads Online and it’s a program that’s free for the pawnshop brokers,” said Police Chief Brian Peete. “Our property crimes are driven primarily through drugs. So when individuals’ homes are broken into, when bikes are stolen, more often than not the perpetrators are going to go to a pawnshop and pawn the items.”

Peete explained that through this online program pawnshops are able to electronically record all the information that comes with the item, such as who brought the item, serial numbers, descriptions and take images of the item.

“Our detectives and officers responding to these calls can jump on Leads Online and type (for example) ‘gold watch’ and see if someone brought that to a pawnshop within the area,” Peete said. “This is something Las Cruces and El Paso are doing, so we can pull up what individuals are pawning in all other locations.”

Currently, Peete said the Alamogordo Police Department only receives written descriptions of items from local pawnshops.

“Because our personnel power is pretty low, this is something that would help us tremendously in moving quickly to apprehend individuals we suspect of property crimes,” Peete said.

City Attorney Petria Schreiber added the pawnshop records are currently being kept, the only thing the city is adding are photo documentation of the items and the information is uploaded to Leads Online.

“They are required to keep these records in our ordinance and in state law, this is not a new thing that we’re requiring,” Schreiber said.

Commissioners Josh Rardin and Susan Payne expressed their concerns with how this will effect local thrift stores.

“We’re not (regulating) thrift stores,” Schreiber said. “If you look in the ordinance… (it covers) non-profit or charitable secondhand goods or thrift shops. They are absolutely excluded from this entire ordinance.”

Commissioner Al Hernandez brought up illegal pop-up garage sales out of the back of vehicles.

“One of the things I’ve seen as of late is people bringing truckloads of crap and setting it up at the Fairgrounds,” Hernandez said. “Last weekend they were set up at the bank on White Sands Boulevard next to Blake’s. I’ve seen them at Allsup’s on Canal. They’re just popping up and to me, it’s ugly. I don’t know where these people come from or what they’re doing, but I think as we’re adding and changing ordinances we need to enforce the ones we already have.”

Schreiber responded that she’d work with Peete to address those issues.

Hernandez motioned to approve updating the ordinance, Rardin seconded the item and the motion was approved 6-0.