Police want tools to track stolen goods, local dealer wants to protect privacy
NAMPA — The Nampa City Council will discuss amendments to the municipal precious metals ordinance at its regularly-scheduled meeting Monday night.
Originally brought up at the May 12 meeting, the discussion was tabled as the council elected to gather more information before moving forward.
Nampa Police Chief Craig Kingsbury said the changes would make it easier for investigators to track, locate and recover stolen property. It’ll also allow authorities to better keep an eye on dealers who set up shop in hotel rooms over a weekend, then vanish a few days later.
“The No. 1 goal is making sure the itinerant dealers are licensed,” Kingsbury said. That doesn’t mean they couldn’t operate within Nampa’s city limits, just that they’re subject to the same oversight as brick-and-mortar dealers.
The version up for discussion Monday is more streamlined than earlier proposals — it’s based on Boise’s existing precious metal ordinance. The proposal would require dealers to keep records of every incoming transaction, including the seller’s name, address and a photocopy of a state-issued ID, and those files must be available for inspection by law enforcement during business hours.
Mike Richardson, owner of Canyon County Coin in downtown Nampa, said he already keeps such records — and has for 11 years — and is always willing to help police identify stolen property that might find its way to his store.
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“Every once in a while, maybe once a year, they’ll ask me, ‘Hey, did you buy from this person?’ or, ‘We’re looking for this item,’” he said. “And I’m more than happy to go through my records with them and say, ‘Nope, don’t know them.’”
He also routinely turns people away, he said, if he suspects what they’re selling might be stolen.
But if they want him to turn over all his records every day, he’d close up shop — and according to an earlier version of the proposal, that could have been a possibility.
That version would have called for any precious metal dealer operating in Nampa to provide records of all transactions to the Nampa Police Department no later than the next business day. It was word-for-word identical to corresponding language in the city’s pawn shop ordinance, with the word “pawnbroker” replaced with “precious metal dealer.”
Richardson said it would have been an invasion of his customer’s privacy, and likely wouldn’t even help investigators find what they’re looking for. Jewelry can be identified, he said, but the kinds of materials he deals in — gold and silver in standardized units — can’t. They’re investments, not heirlooms, he said.
“The average people I buy from are professionals that invest in this stuff,” he said. “And they don’t want their names transmitted to the police department when they come sell me something back.”
The City Council meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Nampa City Hall.