A pawn shop ordinance is proposed in Tamaqua whereby the stores purchasing merchandise from individuals would have to keep a registrar of the transactions.

Hopefully, the council won't drag its feet on passing such an ordinance. Lehighton borough has one in effect and it works well. So do numerous other municipalities.

It does a whole lot more than merely keeping a paper trail on purchases by pawn shop personnel.

It allows local police to check the registrars when they are investigating burglaries and other other criminal activity. If police find merchandise inside a pawn shop that was obtained during a burglary or robbery, there's a better chance the individuals who took the items will be caught and prosecuted.

The ingredients of the ordinance are especially a vital tool for police when burglary rings are operating. It not only keeps tabs on who pawn shops are dealing with, but also discourages pawn shop owners from doing business with unscrupulous sellers.

In today's society, where it seems the criminal has all the rights and advantages, such an ordinance gives the police a tool with which they can work to not only solve cases but get evidence to prosecute the offenders.

In Lehighton, recently, the matter went a step further when it was discovered a pawn shop owner was actually conspiring with criminal elements.

This isn't to imply all pawn shop owners deal in unlawful activity. We assume the majority are very honest.

Keeping a registrar of purchases makes sense for another reason. The owners must report their income and expenses to the Internal Revenue Service and the Pa. Department of Revenue.

Tamaqua Borough Council shouldn't waste time adopting the pawn shop ordinance.

It's a good ordinance and not only helps the police. It helps to protect the public.

By RON GOWER

rgower@tnonline.com [1]