Brick may soon become the second municipality in Ocean County to adopt stricter regulations on pawn shops and secondhand dealers in an effort to combat property crime in what officials will hope becomes a statewide effort.
Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato was at the Brick Township Council’s meeting Tuesday where he thanked council members for introducing the ordinance, which has already been adopted by Stafford Township and about 25 towns outside of Ocean County.
Coronato has been lobbying hard for all of the county’s municipalities to adopt the ordinance, which compels secondhand shops to log items into a computer database accessible by law enforcement and hold items for a minimum of 10 days before they can be sold.
“The state of Maryland has adopted this program, the state of Delaware has adopted this program, and there are about 25 towns in New Jersey that have adopted this program,” said Coronato. “I believe that once our county does it, the other counties will follow our lead and New Jersey will be tied in to Maryland and Delaware.”
When an item is stolen and turned in for cash, Council President Susan Lydecker said, police officers are often are faced with the time-consuming task of tracking down the items in secondhand shops across the entire region.
“It takes our police officers a very long amount of time, and sometimes it’s not enough time,” said Lydecker. “What this ordinance does is put time back in their hands.”
The database will also help streamline the process, officials said.
The ordinance was introduced Tuesday night; a public hearing and second vote is required before it is adopted. The hearing will occur at the Oct. 22 council meeting.