Watch Full Press Conference HERE.

MetalsAndGemsPresserMay 17, 2019 – Law enforcement has identified an increase in crimes related to stolen goods which coincides with the onset of the opioid and heroin epidemic - and while laws currently exist to regulate precious metal and gem dealers, they are in need of an update to keep up with advancements in technology and changes in law enforcement trends.

That is why, in a bi-partisan effort, County Executive George Latimer, Legislators Margaret Cunzio and Kitley Covill, the Department of Public Safety and the County’s Consumer Protection Department are updating these laws to help protect consumers from unscrupulous business activity and ensure that our County remains a safe place to live.

Latimer said: “We are here to identify an action that we're taking in the Legislature and then the Executive Branch that, during this the end of National Police week, will help law enforcement professionals do their job a little bit better. We often talk about standing behind the brave men and women of law enforcement, and sometimes it's a ‘showy’ type of situation - but sometimes it involves very specific and technical details that will improve their ability to enforce the laws. That is what this legislation represents.”

Since secondhand dealers are often used to dispose of stolen goods, controls and regulations on the industry would assist in preventing the proliferation of these goods being sold for quick cash which is then in turn used to purchase drugs. The proposed local law would require metal and gem dealers to not only maintain written records of their transactions, but also submit daily electronic records of each transaction they make. This will provide law enforcement with the tools necessary to combat the secondhand sale of stolen, or otherwise illegally obtained, goods.

Public Safety Commissioner Thomas Gleason said: “I thank County Executive Latimer, County Attorney Nonna, Legislators Covill and Cunzio and Consumer Protection Director Jim Maisano for being such staunch supporters of law enforcement and being sympathetic when we brought our concerns regarding this needed revision to the legislation to their attention. It's critically important, especially in this day and age, to try to combat the sales of stolen property. The way that the law was on the books, which required paper submissions, was so far behind the times that changing to an electronic submission, in and of itself, is going to be a huge tool for us in crime-fighting.”

Consumer Protection Director Jim Maisano said: “This is clearly one of those situations where we needed to update the laws of Westchester to better catch thieves. The only way we can catch the thieves is to update technology to get this data transferred very quickly so we can identify those items and get them back for the person that lost them before they're sold and lost forever. That is why these updates are so important.”

Covill said: “As an ex-ADA, someone would come in to make a complaint, having already gone to the detective bureau, and I'd hold my head in my hands because I knew that the system was so antiquated. This is real-life stuff that will make a future ADA say ‘I know, let's call and check the records’ and it'll help law enforcement say ‘this is good, we know, let's get a good description and we're going find that for you.’ This is really a wonderful way to make sure that we again reinforce that this is a safe and good community.”

Cunzio said: “Anyone that has ever had or known somebody that has had something stolen from you especially something with sentimental value knows that time is of the essence. So this legislation will enable law enforcement to do their job, to do it efficiently, effectively and hopefully this will have a positive impact on our constituency. So if somebody does have something stolen from them we can get that information out there and hopefully get it back to the rightful owner.”

This proposed local law would make sweeping changes to the current version of the law regulating precious metal and gem dealers which has not been otherwise updated since 1985.