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Proposed bill could help police track theft

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BATON ROUGE - A proposed bill could be cracking down on how you do business with secondhand merchandise dealers, including pawn shops.

It's already illegal in Louisiana to perform a cash transaction for copper, and now that law might be expanded to include precious metals like gold, silver and pearls.  Only checks would be accepted.

"It's making the dealers keep a record and turn it into your local agencies, on top of holding the merchandise a certain number of days before they are allowed to do anything with that merchandise," said Jeremy Powell, manager and co-owner of BJ Pawn in Denham Springs.

"They have to wait, give the police time to investigate, maybe somebody reported something stolen, that way we can get a lot of these thieves off the street, hopefully," said Reginald Hayes, a deacon at McKowen Baptist Church. 

McKowen fell victim to copper theft in July 2011, leaving the church without air conditioning for some time.

The bill was authored by state representative Erich Ponti of Baton Rouge.


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