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Secondhand Good Merchants Get New Rules


BRADENTON -- It might take days or even weeks to realize a tool, your laptop, or some jewelry is missing, and for that reason the Manatee County Sheriff's Office says, "we need more time." At Tuesday's Manatee County Commission meeting, MCSO representatives presented the commission with a remedy: Ordinance No. 14-12, a cultivation of  current regulations into a more realistic timeline for their cat and mouse game of, To Catch a Thief. Some dealers, however, say the rule amounts to a costly and unreasonable expense. After some amendments seeking to alleviate such burdens, the BOCC passed the ordinance at Tuesday's meeting.

It is safe to say that every local police department within Manatee County's boundaries echo the same response, "We need more time,"  when asked about the likelihood of someone's chances retrieving what has been stolen from them. 

MCSO general counsel Michele Hall described the ordinance as a much needed tool if the growing trend of burglary is to be curtailed and stolen items recovered. Hall says, "We want more time to investigate."

MCSO's Lt. Patrick Cassella and Detective Terry Kipp agree with Hall. Kipp emphasized the importance of keeping records and having photos, but what he says he needs most to catch a thief is time.

Ordinance 14-12 extends the time a reseller has to hold on to the purchased property before reselling the item, from 15 days to 30. It is important to note, those purchased items must remain on property grounds (place of purchase) for that 30 day period. 

The ordinance requires all sales of secondhand goods: Jewelry, Electronic Devices, and/or Household Appliances, be accompanied by a government ID (ex. drivers license) and a transaction record. 

The household goods referenced in the ordinance was amended out of the mix in the final passing of the ordinance, as well as was the amount of cash restricted in the original offering. What was to be capped at $100, was extended to $300, before triggering a check payment rule.

With the new ordinance will come more accurate records, photos of property and people, and time to follow-up.

The ordinance will not apply to secondhand metal recyclers and pawnbrokers who are regulated under Article III Chapter 2-19 of the Manatee County Code of Ordinances. 

The passing of 14-12 creates a new Article VIII, Chapter 2-19 in the Manatee County Code of Ordinances, and will be known as "Regulation of Secondhand Dealers."

Objecting to the ordinance, are honest, hard working and concerned store owners who say their secondhand goods business is already operating with very little margin of flexibility for additional expense, if they are to stay alive. 

Judith Williams, of FiFi's Fine Resale, along with Theo and Sheryl Cajoleas, owners of, What a Find LLC, say the new ordinance will put a strain on their current struggles to stay afloat.

Both claim having to keep items for a period of 30 days might force them to look for additional storage, which may or may not be affordable.

Further adjustments can be made by amending the ordinance after all stake holders find which screws shake loose and which don't. 

Hall says the ordinance could possibly save the county hundreds of thousands of dollars annually as well as providing a higher rate in stolen items returned to the victims of these crimes.    


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