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Article posted: 1/29/2013 7:02 PM

Glen Ellyn rejects crackdown on some businesses

By Christopher Placek

A proposed Glen Ellyn ordinance seeking to regulate jewelry and electronics stores in an attempt to crack down on the sale of stolen goods has been rejected.

The village board unanimously voted down the proposal this week after hearing from business owners who said it would have been too burdensome to comply with the village regulations.

Police said the proposed law was an effort to help victims of burglaries and thefts recover their property.

The ordinance would have required stores that buy secondhand goods to photograph and enter the property into an online database, then wait seven days before reselling it while police search the system to see if the property was stolen.

The rules would have affected eight stores in town, Deputy Chief Bill Holmer said.

An earlier version of the ordinance included other businesses that sell secondhand goods, such as antique stores or bicycle shops. But police scaled back their proposal after receiving negative feedback last October during a meeting with business owners.

The police department already pays $3,000 a year to use the LeadsOnline database and has had success in recovering property and arresting perpetrators, Holmer said.

He said requiring Glen Ellyn businesses to participate would have improved the scope of the database. LeadsOnline is used by thousands of police departments nationwide -- about 2,100 of which require secondhand stores to participate, according to the company's website.

Businesses in Glen Ellyn would have been required to pay a $250 license fee -- a smaller amount than some towns, which charge up to $1,500.

But Trustee Diane McGinley said the fee goes beyond the scope of a general business license because it covers a specific village administrative function.

"It's an emotional thing for crime victims to go through. And we might have a way of helping them. But then you have to balance how much of a burden you're putting on certain businesses," McGinley said.

Wes Barrow, owner of Larc Jewelers in downtown Glen Ellyn, said the required seven-day waiting period would have disrupted his cash flow. Police originally proposed a 30-day wait period -- the industry standard, they said.

"If I don't have the ability to sell what I purchased to a refiner or another customer who might be interested in that item that I now own, any time delay there is detrimental to our business," Barrow said.

Barrow says he photocopies the drivers licenses of those who sell jewelry to him and the checks he writes to them.

"We're not trying to buy and sell and not get caught," Barrow said. "We want to help the police, just not at the cost of our business."

Holmer said he's unsure if a revised ordinance will come back to the board, but McGinley indicated there is interest among some trustees for one.

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