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6:33 AM Fri, Nov. 16th

PV police seek law changes to recover stolen items

PRESCOTT VALLEY – In an effort to reduce property thefts, the Prescott Valley Police Department is proposing changes to a town ordinance dealing with pawn shops and second-hand stores.

The Police Department wants to be proactive about recovering stolen items, Police Chief Daniel Schatz told the Town Council. Since August, Schatz assigned Det. James Edelstein to cover only property crimes.

"We want to get the word out that it's not even worth coming to Prescott Valley to fence stolen property," said P.J. Janik, police information officer.

The department recorded a 4 percent increase in burglaries and a 2 percent rise in thefts this past year, Janik said.

With the high rate of PV's population growth, construction sites are becoming a more frequent target for thieves, who steal new appliances and try to sell them, Janik said.

And, with an aggressive 10-person Phoenix Police Department detail going after stolen items at pawn shops and second-hand dealers, rural departments are hearing that thieves are looking to outlying areas for fencing, Janik added.

The draft ordinance would require for-profit auction houses, junk dealers and second-hand dealers to send reports to the police within 24 hours about used items they acquire that are worth more than $100.

Items such as trade-ins, consignments, off-site purchases, used clothing, tires, auto parts and trades would be exempt from the reporting requirements, the chief said.

The existing ordinance that requires weekly reports from second-hand dealers about every item they acquire is basically unenforceable, Schatz told the council.

No businesses are sending in such reports right now, Janik said.

The draft ordinance also would require businesses that sell used goods to get a special second business license from the town, paying a $180 fee the first time and $45 annually thereafter.

Chief Schatz said the department came up with a fee that is in the middle of what other surveyed municipalities charge, but the department doesn't care if the council wants to choose another amount.

The Town Council reviewed the draft ordinance Thursday and offered several comments and suggestions.

Before the draft comes to the council for a potential vote, the council wants to know how much other municipalities charge for used dealers business licenses, especially in the tri-city area.

The council also wants to see written records of comments from affected businesses.

"We don't want to be an unfriendly town," Council Member Lora Lee Nye said. "We appreciate our business owners ... We have a lot of things to sort out."

PV Pawn employee Bob Rosevear said he would prefer to report only those items worth more than $100.

The council also wants staff to check out whether people who sell goods at the Peddler's Pass flea market are getting business licenses as town law requires if they sell at the site at least four times annually.

Contact the reporter at jdodder@prescottaz.com