Law enforcement is asking for an additional tool in Bettendorf, IA called LeadsOnLine, a national database used to track down stolen property.
Bettendorf considers program to curb sale of stolen items
This may sound like a good idea on the surface, but consider how many honest transactions take place at a legitimate business like a pawn shop verses the number of illegal sales. We don't really know the numbers.
Speaking with a local pawn shop owner in Cedar Rapids recently I found out what I would expected: They really don't want to buy illegal merchandise. They are there to make a profit and it does not profit them to buy illegally obtained merchandise and then have it later confiscated by police.
Serial numbers from guns and high ticket items are passed to Cedar Rapids police as required by local ordinance. Des Moines also has this requirement.
Bettendorf will be taking this one step further by cooperating with a national database.
The proposed ordinance change would require businesses that buy items such as electronics, jewelry and coins to participate in an online program called LeadsOnLine, which allows police departments across the country to track stolen merchandise.I'm not aware of too many items like jewelry or non-certified coins that have serial numbers to track them with.
In order to see if my Winchester Model 70 that I sell to a pawn shop because I have to pay for my bills, the clerk will have to run the serial number through an online database to see if my legally purchased rifle hasn't been stolen. But I purchased that rifle at a DNR auction a few years ago (an auction that sell confiscated guns) that may have been used in a crime.
Can we be assured that the database is current?
Or maybe my Remington 870 was reported stolen as a fraud against the owner's insurance, but I bought it at a gun auction.
Can I get that cleared up without going to jail?
I can see the merits of recovering stolen property, but I don't like being treated as though I've committed a crime with my own property.