Indiana Senate introduces bill to track theft through secondhand stores

Secondhand stores would have to photograph sellers under a proposed law.
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A growing number of home break-ins may lead lawmakers to target an unsuspecting group of people - those just looking for a good deal at the store.

When the Taylor family hits the secondhand stores, Kim says she wants "brand names cheap." But some store operators say their prices could jump if Indiana passes an anti-theft law for secondhand retailers.

How much would they jump?

"That $89 chair would probably be a $119 chair," said John Britain, owner of Audrey's Place on East 10th Street.

The bill would require stores to more thoroughly track the items they buy and sell. Now, if Shay sells used items to her favorite store, she says, "I don't really have to show them anything. I just give them my name and I turn it in and pick back up what they don't want."

But the bill would require stores to photograph the seller, the items, get their drivers license and license plate.

"And they would not be able to sell the items for five days and must keep them in the store for that five-day waiting period," said .

That would give police time to check stores after burglaries.

Beth Ripani, owner of Off The Hanger on County Line Road near Madison Avenue and U.S. 31, says, "That would add a lot of extra cost to running my business. I would have to probably hire another person to photograph every item and the people."

She already requires seller's ID and has them fill out a form, but if something seems wrong, she tells them "I can't take the item. You didn't purchase this. I refuse it."

"Anytime we can cut down on crime, that's a good thing," Britain said.

But he thinks the new bill is too tough on small businesses, like his, that take in whole house loads of items.

"One, we're not going to pay as much now for items we do get and two, we're going to charge more because it's going to cost us more because we have more involved," said Britain.

On the south side, customer Shay doesn't need more cost.

"I wouldn't be coming here if it weren't for the prices," she said.

But she and other customers do want to fight crime, so she doesn't mind being photographed.

Shopper Kim Taylor also likes the low prices and would support the crime fighting effort.

"I don't want to buy stolen items, either," she said.

So merchants and customers agree some new rules are required, but they can't cost too much.

Read Indiana Senate Bill 407