Spurred by an FBI investigation of secondhand shops for enabling a thriving black market in stolen goods, Portland this week closed a loophole that made it easy for criminals to buy and sell brand-new shoplifted items at the stores, reports the Oregonian. Shop owners and police say the code changes, together with a proposed new computer tracking system, will give the city’s expanded pawnshop detail more weapons to combat the flow of both new and used stolen goods. “The goal is for the thief to be afraid to go into one of these places,” said police Sgt. Troy King.
Rules requiring stores to report detailed information about transactions involving certain used items such as stereo equipment, musical instruments, and jewelry and to hold them for 30 days before reselling them didn’t apply to new goods. The new rules change that. The FBI investigation and a series of stories by The Oregonian reporting the police neglect sparked a two-year process to update the code. It wasn’t easy. Shop owners were wary, expecting to be treated as part of the problem.