There was a bill in the Hawaii Legislature this year that would have mandated electronic reporting of pawnshop transactions to police. At present, it is optional. There were a number of questions ab out how it would work in practice and the bill was deferred.
Instead the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs will form a working group to report to the 2016 Legislature. So far, so good.
One of the issues is the “hold period” for purchased or pawned items. The rationale behind a hold is that it gives citizens or police a chance to check dealers to see if they have received stolen items.
(Yes, from time to time citizens come by with circulars describing items they have lost in burglaries, usually readily identifiable jewelry. Not often, but sometimes, there’s a match.)
In Maui County, the hold period for licensed secondhand dealers, like Kamaaina Loan, is 15 days. For pawns, 60 days. In theory, most people dealing in buying and selling secondhand goods ought to be licensed, but we don’t think most are. Inspections are lax to nil, except pawnshops, which are more closely regulated.
In other Hawaii counties, hold periods vary within the 15- to 60-day framework. But on the Mainland it can get much more complicated. How complicated, you ask?
The Brockton, Massachusetts, area may hold the record. Each community sets it own standard, ranging from no hold at all, to 10, 14, 21, 30 or (in a proposal in one community) 60 days.
While the amateur burglars may not keep that straight, it seems likely that the professionals know which towns have the least regulation.