Pawnshops across the state would have to wait a full week before selling pawned items, rather than the current 48 hours, under a bill proposed by state Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park).
Harmon said in a press release that the proposal would help police bust criminals and unscrupulous pawnshop owners who help them move stolen goods.
The measure would give law enforcement more time to hunt down stolen goods in burglary investigations, he said.
“I’ve heard from many Oak Park and Chicago residents who are concerned with the proliferation of pawnshops along North Avenue,” said Harmon. “I want to make sure that these pawnshops — or any others — aren’t helping criminals profit from theft.”
The bill was approved Wednesday by the General Assembly’s Licensed Activities and Pensions Committee and now heads to the full Senate for approval.
Judith Alexander, chair of the North Avenue Zoning and Development Advisory Committee and co-founder of the North Avenue Neighbors Association of Oak Park, said in a telephone interview that she testified at the committee hearing in favor of the proposal. Representatives of the pawnshop industry did not testify in opposition to the bill, she said.
Other states require waiting periods of 30 days, she said, so the proposal is a step in the right direction.
Alexander said she hopes the proposed bill would make it harder for criminals to get money for their stolen goods.
“Making it more difficult for pawnshops to sell or loan against stolen property will not only assist victims of theft and local police,” she said. “It also may help lessen the negative impact of pawnshops on commercial districts.”
Neighbors unsuccessfully sued in 2013 to prevent a pawnshop from moving in at 6432 W. North Ave. It was the fifth pawnshop to move into the area along North between Rossell and Hayes avenues.
The opening of the pawn shop also put neighbors at odds with 29th Ward Ald. Deborah Graham, who supported allowing EZ Pawn to move in. Graham’s support of the pawn shop has been a lingering issue in the race for the 29thWard seat.
Graham was quoted in the Harmon news release supporting the proposed bill.
“This legislation is important because it will provide additional protections and requirements on goods bought and sold,” Graham said in the press release. “It will raise the bar on pawnshop owners to give extra safeguards so that pawnshops operate responsibly and with accountability.”