Mar. 18, 2019

New rules would aid in recovery of stolen jewelry
HARRISBURG – The House of Representatives recently approved legislation that would allow for greater tracking of stolen jewelry and other items containing precious metals, said Rep. Frank Farry (R-Bucks), who has been working on this issue since 2012.

Enacted in 1984, Pennsylvania’s Precious Metal Sale Regulation Law governs the documentation and record-keeping of these types of transactions. Current law requires precious metals buyers to hold a purchased item for three days before it’s resold or melted down. There are no specific requirements for how dealers must describe items on purchase records.

House Bill 350 would amend the Precious Metal Sale Regulation Law to require dealers in precious metals to maintain purchased items for 10 business days, as well as photocopy the seller’s proof of identity.

The bill would also require purchase records to include a photograph of each item purchased and written documentation of any distinguishing details, including marks, initials, insignias or inscriptions.

Farry noted that this issue was brought to his attention in 2012 by the victim of a local burglary and he’s been working to strengthen the law ever since.

“One of the most troubling parts of the current law surrounds the short period of time which pawn shops are required to hold a precious metal purchase before it is resold or melted down,” he said. “In some cases, such as a theft by a relative, a victim may not have even realized their jewelry was stolen before the three-day window passed.”

The opioid epidemic is driving many thefts that result in sale of stolen property to pawn shops within the Commonwealth. Precious metal items, like gold jewelry, top the list of pawned items.

“For victims of property theft, the lack of accountability of precious metal buyers further victimizes individuals,” Farry said. “This legislation will afford greater protection to victims of stolen property throughout Pennsylvania while providing law enforcement additional tools to catch the thieves.”

Representative Frank Farry
142nd District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Abbey Haslam