RIALTO - Pawn shops in the city that offer cash for gold may see tougher regulations soon.

The City Council tonight plans to consider an ordinance that requires random inspections and new licenses, among a handful of standards to be imposed on the shops.

A spike in jewelry thefts last year led to a 45-day moratorium on new cash-for-gold shops operating in the city.

The Police Department reported that thieves were snatching jewelry from victims on the street and quickly turning the items into the shops for money.

Three such shops operate in the city. They receive precious metals from customers and resell them to third parties for melting.

Authorities say the cash-for-gold shops were slack in verifying customer information and documenting jewelry transactions.

Merchants, therefore, in many cases were unknowingly receiving stolen goods.

Before the moratorium, cash-for-gold businesses could open in any commercially zoned area in the city with a Certificate of Occupancy and a business license.

The ordinance under consideration in Rialto requires cash-for-gold businesses to have a Conditional Development Permit and open at least two miles from competing shops.

Merchants will have to carry a secondhand dealer's license.

They also must submit to random inspections and security standards imposed by the Police Department that include thumbprint identification and a valid California ID for all customers; a 30-day hold on all items received; registration of each transaction; and a minimum customer age of 18.

Violations could mean that a merchant's Conditional Development Permit will be revoked.


Reach Josh via email, call him at 909-386-3894.