SALEM — Burglars, beware. It may soon be easier for local police to track you down.
The Salem Police Department seems on the verge of implementing an electronic monitoring system for items sold by pawn shops and dealers of secondhand goods. That includes jewelry stores and shops selling videos and compact discs.
The system, proposed in an updated pawn ordinance considered by selectmen last night, reduces the paperwork for police and improves their tracking of items purchased and resold by these stores, according to Deputy police Chief Shawn Patten.
It also helps police crack down on the sale of stolen merchandise since police typically monitor items taken in by pawn shops and dealers of secondhand goods. These items are often stolen during burglaries and quickly resold, Patten has said.
Selectmen held a public hearing on the proposed ordinance last night and will hold a second hearing Feb. 11 before they vote on it later this winter. Assuming it is approved, the ordinance is scheduled to take effect March 1, Patten said.
“Everything is on target,” he said.
Training on the new system is underway, Patten said.
The town’s current ordinance came under fire last summer when Bull Moose Music owner Brett Wickard and Newbury Comics regional manager Sean O’Brien challenged the regulations, saying they were too restrictive.
The two businesses are among 21 in Salem whose sales are regulated by the ordinance. Wickard and O’Brien criticized a provision that required them to hold on to merchandise for at least 30 days before reselling the items.
The two men brought their concerns to selectmen in July, saying the CDs and DVDS they sell should be exempt from the ordinance. They said it was costing their shops thousands of dollars in business each year because they could not resell items for a month after purchasing them.