Shrewsbury aims to curb dealing in stolen jewelry
By K.B. Sherman, Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – Shrewsbury Chief of Police James Hester appeared before the Board of Selectmen during the board’s March 26 meeting to present for their approval a plan that seeks to put a lid on the trafficking of stolen jewelry.
Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 140, Section 54, allows cities and towns by ordinance, to license “suitable persons to be collectors of, dealers in, or keepers of shops for the purchase, sale or barter of junk, old metals or second-hand articles.” Among the items such licensees may deal in is second-hand jewelry. Recently, Shrewsbury has experienced multiple thefts of jewelry and its alleged reselling by junk dealers, whether the source of the jewelry is known or not.
At the selectmen’s meeting, Hester laid out his proposal to help curb these abuses. Noting that the records of some junk dealers selling jewelry have been notoriously inconsistent and incomplete, he proposed to the selectmen a change in policy that has three elements:
1. A log will be required of the dealer identifying the seller in writing, along with pictures of the seller and the item bought by the dealer.
2. The log must be kept onsite and available to police or any other investigating official for at least 21 days after the item is bought by the dealer.
3. All logs and records for such items must be available to the police, upon request, for a period of at least one year.
Hester then explained that his department has had experience with dealers who did not wish to share their records with the police, while other dealers’ keeping of and sharing their records was markedly inconsistent. The chief then proposed that these changes be made official as of May 1, if the selectmen agreed.
After some discussion, Board of Selectmen Chair Maurice DePalo ruled that the plan first needs to be discussed at a public hearing, and recommended that the board do so during its Tuesday, April 9, meeting. The board then voted unanimously to do so.
In other business, Fire Chief James Vuona submitted a new schedule for fees to be charged for fire system inspections, reviewing building plans, and other department-related services. The board accepted the plan unanimously. The plan can be viewed at Town Hall during normal business hours.
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