After a lengthy discussion ending in a 4-2 vote, the Roseburg City Council approved an ordinance regulating secondhand stores Monday.
The ordinance requires 25 stores in Roseburg to upload information about nearly all merchandise they purchase to an online database, LeadsOnline. Secondhand dealers must upload personal identification of sellers and information such as descriptions of items and serial numbers.
Roseburg Police Chief Gary Klopfenstein, who proposed the ordinance in June, said the information will help police return stolen property to victims. The police department paid more than $3,000 for a contract with LeadsOnline, making it free to store owners. Some secondhand stores already record such information, which could only be accessed by police, Klopfenstein said.
City councilors Brian Prawitz and Ashley Hicks voted no. City councilors Tom Ryan and Bob Cotterell were absent from the meeting.
Councilors who supported the ordinance emphasized its focus on victims. The ordinance’s two opponents said it punished businesses for the actions of criminals.
Daniel Dillman, who recently passed ownership of his secondhand store, Diamond Dan’s, to his son, spoke out against the ordinance at the meeting. He raised concerns about being required to upload the price he pays for items.
He also opposed language in the ordinance suggesting all sales must occur at the business’ physical address — Diamond Dan’s conducts business at 15-20 trade shows each year, Dillman said. Councilors changed the language during the meeting for clarity.
“You can pass this ordinance, you can pass five more next month, criminals are going to be criminals,” Dillman said.
Klopfenstein said Dillman and Dillman’s son were the only store owners to attend a meeting to discuss the ordinance in May, and he thought he addressed all their concerns.
“When you get no news or nobody showing up, that’s usually an indication that you’re OK,” said Mayor Larry Rich.
Klopfenstein said it’s inadequate to have to tell victims to check secondhand stores for their stolen property.
“This is not meant to hurt businesses,” Klopfenstein said. “It’s super frustrating for me to tell a citizen that I’m trying to help to go to all the pawn shops. It just seems so incompetent of me to have to say that.”
Interim City Manager Nikki Messenger said the ordinance is for the victims.
“I don’t know if any of you have been burgled, I have,” she said. “I was going from place to place to place trying to get my stuff back, and it was not an easy process. It was real clear there were some stores that wanted to help and some that didn’t.”
She added the ordinance provides victims and the police recourse.
Stores that don’t register with LeadsOnline and comply with the ordinance would be subject to a municipal code violation, which carries up to a $1,500 per day fine.
Prawitz said a store owner who consigns firearms voiced concerns to him about the ordinance, saying law-abiding store owners already do a lot to prevent purchasing stolen items.
“It’s just frustrating for business owners who follow the rules all the time to have another thing to have to follow because everybody else is breaking the rules.”
Hicks said for store owners who still keep written records, the database may be difficult to use.
After a vote in which Hicks paused for 15 seconds before voting no, Rich thanked Dillman for his comments. Dillman shook his head before leaving the City Council chambers.