Press release here:
ASHEVILLE – To streamline the process that pawnbrokers use to provide law enforcement with transaction records that can be reviewed for stolen property, Asheville police are requesting an ordinance amendment requiring these businesses, as well as second-hand dealers, to submit information via a national computer database called “LeadsOnline.”
As part of this process, APD is offering a public information session to give details about LeadsOnline and how the reporting process will work locally.
The meeting will be from 6-8 p.m. Dec. 13, in room A109 of the city Public Works building, 161 S. Charlotte St.
State law already requires pawnshops to provide law enforcement with records of transactions, but many shops provide paper records that have to be manually entered into the local law enforcement database. This process is labor-intensive and inefficient, requiring considerable hours in manual entry.
It also takes several weeks for information to become available to detectives. By that time, the information is so dated it is essentially useless.
In addition, the current ordinance does not require second-hand dealers — i.e. consignment shops, antique dealers, eBay stores, cash converter stores and similar businesses — to report transactions to law enforcement. Requiring these businesses to report daily transactions will assist police in closing a loophole for the sale of stolen goods.
Some 16 businesses in the city voluntarily use LeadsOnline to report their daily merchandise transactions.
“From a law enforcement standpoint, electronic reporting allows us to perform property crime investigations more effectively,” said Sgt. Michael Garrison, of the Criminal Investigations Division. “We can check for stolen items in a quicker manner, quickly identify possible suspects, and have a much better opportunity to recover items.”