The Richmond County Sheriff's Office wants to use technology to make it easier to track stolen jewelry.
An Augusta Commission committee has approved new rules for pawn shops and similar businesses that deal in gold and other precious metals. The Sheriff's Office is proposing these businesses enter information like thumbprints and pictures of merchandise on the same database.
Investigators hope the new rules will make it easier to check on stolen items.
“That's exactly right, it's all Internet-based. As soon as the property comes in that's stolen, rather than having to send that to another investigator who then goes out and brings in the data two weeks later and searches it, we'll be able to look at it at an instance to see if the property came in anywhere,” says Major Scott Peebles, head of the Criminal Investigation Division.
Pawn shops and similar businesses collect the information now, but on different databases, and some feel the Sheriff's Office proposal is about bureaucracy…not catching the bad guys.
“The bureaucracy makes it easier for them. They don't care if it's harder for us, they would have people to come in and train us. It's a new system, we have to find a way to back up our old system onto this new system. It sounds like a lot of work on our end to save them some work on their end,” says Noel Rhoades, the manager of a Broad Street pawn shop.
Maj. Peebles says the Sheriff's Office wants to make the transition as painless as possible for the pawn shops and says the only expense for the business would be the thumbprint scanners that run less than $100.
The full Commission will vote on the new rules next week.