Bill would crack down on sales to secondhand shops

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Indiana lawmakers are considering a bill that would crack down on sales of stolen goods to secondhand stores.

The Senate bill would require those who purchase secondhand goods for resale to log their purchases, photograph the sellers and items, and keep purchased items off the shelves for five days.

Indiana already has similar requirements in place for pawn shops.

While pawn shops and secondhand stores "are two different kinds of places, they create the same market for stolen property," Republican state Sen. Jim Banks of Columbia City told the Journal & Courier.

Banks wrote the bill after hearing from a Columbia City business owner who said items stolen from his property ended up at a secondhand store nearby.

The bill Banks is sponsoring would carry fines of up to $1,000 to shop owners who failed to follow the proposed rules.

Lafayette Police Department crime analyst Steve Hawthorne told the Journal & Courier that he doubts the bill will do much to deter thieves.

"This bill might tighten up loopholes and deter criminals a little bit," Hawthorne said. "But I think no matter what, they will find a way to get rid of the stolen material. If they can't get cash for it, they can barter it for drugs."

Ben Brinn, a Lafayette resident who owns secondhand clothing stores, said he's worried about the effect the bill might have on his businesses.

"We handle hundreds, sometimes thousands of items per week," Brinn told the Journal & Courier. "Having to photograph every item and seller, plus not sell the item for five days, that would just be way, way too burdensome to handle."

Brinn's stores already require clothing sellers to show photo ID and sign a form declaring they own the item they are selling. He said he hopes the Senate will include an exception in the bill for stores like his that sell high-volume, low-value items.

The bill has been assigned to the Committee on Commerce and Economic Development and Technology.


  • Waste of Time
    Big Government Move. That is what we need, another state department that monitors small business owners. I wonder if the State Legislature is going to demand similar accountability at Gun Shows?
  • Bad idea
    I sell used books & am lucky to make a razor thin profit. Most folks like me with booths in antique malls are small fry and honorable. Consumers have an obligation to record serial numbers on their valuables or to photograph their belongings for insurance purposes. This law seems unenforceable and it burdens the many for the dishonesty of the few and the irresponsibility of the many who don't keep records of or photograph their belongs. Advice to legislators: watch de Sica's "The Bicycle Thief." It's damn hard to police small crimes.

Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ