HAWTHORNE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — In Westchester County, a vital law enforcement function is stuck in the 1980s, requiring paperwork and postage stamps.

Now, there is a proposal to modernize how the county monitors possible suspicious activity at pawn shops, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported Monday.

When pawn shops buy they must wait to re-sell — a 14-day holding period. In theory, that gives cops time to see if the goods were stolen, which has been an increasing problem during the opioid crisis.

“A lot of times people driven by their addiction will commit larcenies, burglaries. Mainly they’ll look at items they can sell for quick money,” Westchester County Police Chief John Hodges said.

But there’s nothing quick about the reporting process in Westchester. It’s 2019, but pawn shops still must fill out paperwork in triplicate and mail it to the county so a clerk can type the information into a database, generating a report which is shared with police looking for stolen goods.

Cops find it often takes longer than the two-week holding period.

“The items could be gone, could be sold,” Hodges said.

MOREWATCH: Man Steals Ring From Pawn Shop, Then Tries To Sell It Back

(credit: CBS2)

So for the first time since the 1980s, the county wants to update its pawn shop monitoring, requiring the use of an electronic system that instantly tells cops what was sold, who sold it, and even provides pictures of the items.

Because items stolen in Westchester often are pawned elsewhere, the county wants an electronic system that will interface with the systems used by the NYPD and the New York State Police.

“Here, what we’re trying to address is pretty much the timeliness of this,” Hodges said.

The idea is to police know much more quickly what’s being pawned, so they can work to get any stolen goods back to their rightful owner.

The proposal has bipartisan support and is likely to become law. It also sets up a licensing process, requiring pawn shops and secondhand dealers to register with the county.


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