A law regulating Cayman Islands pawn shops and goods exchange businesses passed by legislators in late 2014 came into force on Wednesday.
The Secondhand Dealers Law proposes fines and jail time for store operators who do not tell police when stolen goods are offered for sale in their establishments.
Premier Alden McLaughlin said in 2014 that the long-debated legislation was brought to the House as a measure to restrict thieves from selling stolen goods at pawn shops. “The new law will place additional controls on what has been a too obvious point of disposal in the Cayman Islands – cash for gold and pawn shop establishments,” he said at the time.
Police crime statistics noted, as early as 2012, a big increase in burglaries and thefts which RCIPS Chief Inspector Brad Ebanks blamed – at the time – on a proliferation of pawn shops and cash for gold-type businesses. Local pawn shop dealers denied that allegation at the time and said they had committed to work with police to halt illegal fence activities.
Among the provisions contained in the law:
- Allowing police to inspect pawn shops without a warrant
- Requirements for store managers to record every transaction using surveillance cameras and keep photos of all property, along with personal information of sellers
- A ban on transactions between secondhand dealers and anyone under 18
- Pawn shops must have “proof of ownership” along with photo ID from anyone selling property worth more than $200.