The five pawnshops in Naperville could play a greater role in solving future burglaries of jewelry, gems and previous metals -- all with the snap of a camera.
The city council on Tuesday night unanimously approved an update to a pawnshop ordinance that police Chief Robert Marshall says could help police track stolen jewelry.
Shops regulated under the ordinance will be required to post photos -- both of the jewelry, gems and precious metals they receive and of identification cards of the people who sell the goods -- to an online database that detectives can search when crimes occur, as they did last summer when a string of residential burglaries hit primarily south Naperville.
"This is going to provide an additional tool for our detectives and law enforcement officers in the event we have a burglary in which jewelry or precious metals was stolen from a residence," Marshall said Tuesday night. "What this new ordinance does is provide us with the ability for the pawnshop owner to actually hold the items that they take in for 10 days. They're also required to take photographs of those items and also put it on a system called LeadsOnline."
Two residents who had jewelry stolen asked the council to require the photos of items so they can be found or traced back to the person who stole them.
Resident Marie Berner spoke Tuesday night and said despite an estimated 35 hours of detective contact and work on her case, police were not able to connect the suspected burglar to the $15,000 in diamond jewelry she had taken.
"No charges were ever brought to the person we suspected because the pawnshop had no photos of the items," Berner said. "I'm asking we make a simple change in the process when items are delivered to pawnshops that we take a picture."
The new rules apply only to jewelry, gemstones or precious metals that are sold to pawnshops, not to other collectibles or potentially valuable items, said Kristen Foley, senior assistant city attorney.
The city plans to start with this new regulation and assess whether it helps solve burglaries before potentially expanding the items that must be photographed and documented, Marshall said. A detective will train staff members at the five affected businesses, and the ordinance will go into effect in 60 days.