Legislation sponsored by Senator Jim Holzapfel (R-Ocean) and fellow District 10 legislators creating a task force to study industry-wide systems for tracking stolen jewelry has passed the New Jersey Senate. The “Secondhand Valuables Transaction Reporting Task Force” would also make recommendations for implementing the system for retail and law enforcement use.
Sen. Jim Holzapfel’s bill creates “The Secondhand Valuables Transaction Reporting Task Force” to study systems to track and return stolen jewelry. (Flickr)
“We currently have excellent record-keeping systems in place to track and recover stolen jewelry from pawnshops,” Senator Holzapfel said. “As we saw during the rash of burglaries in Monmouth County, criminals are circumventing these systems by selling stolen goods to jewelry stores who do not have access to the same program. This task force will investigate how to arm all retailers with cutting edge systems to track stolen valuables, report crimes to law enforcement, and return these treasured items to the rightful owner.”
Senator Holzapfel’s bill, S-1002, creates a task force to study the programs and systems used to track secondhand and used jewelry acquired through theft, in order to recover the jewelry and return it to its rightful owner. The bill directs the task force to issue a report of its findings and recommendations to law enforcement and retailers no later than six months after its initial meeting.
Under current law, pawn shops must hold on to purchased goods for a year, to ease the process of tracking and recovering stolen items. There is no current law mandating jewelry stores to hold on to purchased jewelry. As a result, stolen jewelry is often quickly resold to smelters. The identical Assembly version of the bill (A-2224) is co-sponsored by fellow District 10 legislators Assemblymen McGuckin and Wolfe, as well as Republican Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli (R-16.)
The 11-member taskforce established under the bill must include three county prosecutors, municipal law enforcement officers, a jewelry retailer, a pawnbroker, a person in the business of buying precious metals; as well as officials from the Attorney General’s Office and New Jersey State Police.
The legislation has received the support of The Ocean County Prosecutor, Ocean County Chief of Detectives, Egg Harbor Township Police Chief.
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