Local News

Thursday, Dec 27 2012 05:44 PM

Is your neighborhood pawn shop reputable? Officials ID some

BY REBECCA KHEEL Californian staff writer rkheel@bakersfield.com

Sheriff's officials on Thursday released more details of their recent crackdown on second-hand goods shops, including the names of those that have been following the law.

On Wednesday, the Kern County Sheriff's Department described a two-day operation during which it found that only 14 of 50 shops checked were licensed and following the laws regulating such outfits.

Second-hand businesses were defined as those involved in the purchase, consignment or pawn of second-hand goods such as jewelry, gold, silver, appliances or any other serialized item.

They must follow various regulations, including having a license; creating a record of customers who sell items that includes their fingerprints; and reporting all sales to a sheriff's or police department each day.

On Thursday, sheriff's Sgt. Steve Pederson did not have a list readily available of all the businesses that were checked out and which were found to be naughty and nice.

Generally, though, more stores in the outlying areas of the county were in compliance than those in the metropolitan Bakersfield area, he said.

He provided the names of the shops in Bakersfield that were following the reporting laws before the sheriff's office launched its investigation.

Those shops are:

* Rosedale Pawn on Rosedale Highway

* Gold Buyers of Bakersfield on Stockdale Highway

* Gold Cash Center on North Chester Avenue

* Bakersfield Pawn on Niles Street

* A-1 Auto Sales and Loan on Rosedale Highway

During the investigation, sheriff's officials issued six citations to shops not in compliance, he said. The maximum fine for a first offense is $1,500 or two months in jail.

Instead of citations, most of the deputies opted to give the businesses information about what the law requires of them to eliminate the future excuse that they didn't know the rules.

"That's typically garbage anyway," Pederson said. "If you know enough to get a license, how could you not know that you need to keep records?"

Mike Hood, manager of Rosedale Pawn, said he's pleased the sheriff's office is enforcing the law. His shop does everything from take pictures of items to getting the social security number and fingerprints of the seller to turning away anyone suspicious.

"If an 18-year-old walks in with a one karat diamond ring, you something generally is not right," Hood said.

It's important to follow the law, he said, because burglary is so rampant. Anyone could be a victim, even him, so he wants to keep his business legitimate, he said.

Roby Ziolkowski, manager at Bakersfield Pawn, said following the reporting laws is just part of being a good citizen. He also believes in karma, he said.

"I wouldn't want to leave the house," he said, "and come back and go 'Where's my stuff?'"

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