Kingman pawnbroker says plan treats customers like criminals

KINGMAN - A proposed pawnshop ticket tracking system would treat customers like criminals and raise costs for pawnbrokers, one opponent of the system said.

The Mohave County Board of Supervisors will consider adding a dollar per transaction fee to cover the cost of a new pawn ticket tracking system during a public hearing at 9:30 a.m. Monday at the County Administration Building, 700 W. Beale St.

Jerry Homer owns the two Pawn World shops in Kingman and is protesting the new system.

"Our customers are not criminals and should not be treated like one. Most of our customers are repeat customers that are trying to get by month to month," he said in a letter to the Board. The cost to install, maintain and run the system as well as pay for the transaction fee would be too much, Homer said.

"I am in support of the main part of this ordinance in helping law enforcement by reporting to LeadsOnLine. However, I cannot understand why the Mohave County Sheriff's Office did not consult any of the pawnshop owners on how this ordinance would affect our customers or our business," he said.

Arizona Revised Statutes allow law enforcement agencies to charge a fee for processing pawn tickets. This would be the first time the Mohave County Sheriff's Office has charged a fee for pawn tickets.

MCSO first introduced the LeadsOnLine system to the Board of Supervisors in February. The new system is accessed through the Internet and requires the name, address and a photo of a customer, along with photos of the pawned item and a customer's fingerprint, which makes it easier to recover stolen property and track down suspects, even if the stolen item is pawned out of state, Mohave County Chief Deputy Sheriff Jim McCabe explained in February.

In his letter to the Board, Homer states that his two pawns shops handle around 12,000 pawn tickets a year. He typically has customers lined up inside his shops to the door.

Pawnshops in Mohave County are already required to record the information from a customer's picture ID, get a copy of the customers right thumb print and write down a detailed description of the merchandise, he said. Adding digital photos and thumbprints to the mix would only increase the amount of time required to process a pawn ticket.

Also, several communities that use LeadsOnLine - including Mesa, Scottsdale, Tucson and Las Vegas - don't require photos and have no problem tracking down stolen items. The only county in Arizona that does require pictures is Navajo County, he said.

The Kingman Police Department already charges a $3 per ticket fee. The sheriff's fee would increase the total per ticket fee Homer would have to pay to $4.

He also pays MCSO $1,000 a year for a pawnbroker's license.

Homer is recommending the Board reduce the fee from the sheriff's office to 50 cents per transaction.

"I will eat the 50 cents a ticket fee and pay it myself, but I cannot afford the $1 a ticket fee. So this would be added to my customers' cost," he said. Even at 50 cents a ticket, Homer said he would still be paying $7,000 a year for a subscription that will only cost the county $6,000 a year.

In February, McCabe said a subscription to LeadsOnLine would cost approximately $6,000, but that doesn't include the cost for dispatchers to input the information into the system and for detectives to check and double check the system.

"This is not a profit maker," McCabe said.

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