HARRISBURG – To provide more time to recover stolen property, the House approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Jim Rigby (R-Cambria/Somerset) that would allow for greater tracking by law enforcement of stolen jewelry and other items containing precious metals, as well as fight the opioid epidemic as the sales often fund the purchase of illegal drugs.
House Bill 350
would amend Act 17 of 1984, the Precious Metal Sale Regulation Law, to require dealers in precious metals to maintain the purchased items for 10 business days, as well as a photocopy of the seller’s proof of identity. The bill was amended to include a definition of a wholesale purchaser and the requirement of a photograph of each item purchased if it has any distinguishing details, including marks, initials, insignias or inscriptions.
If a dealer purchases stolen property, these requirements would facilitate identification of the rightful owner and promote prosecution of the offender even if the items have been sold, melted down or are otherwise no longer available.
“I thank my colleagues for their support of this important bill that will not only help to reconnect people with what was taken from them, but also negatively impact the drug trade, which is often financed with stolen property,” Rigby said. “Hampering the opioid epidemic while also making it easier for officers to resolve stolen property cases is a clear win.”
The bill would require dealers to maintain a copy of their annual license application at each place of business for inspection by the public. This change would combat transient dealers who set up temporary shops in hotels to buy gold and other precious metals before quickly leaving town, inhibiting investigative efforts to track down stolen property that may have passed through their hands.
As House Bill 350 received strong, bipartisan support in the House, it now advances to the Senate for consideration.
Representative Jim Rigby
71st Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Alison Evans