Employees at five businesses who buy and sell gold were cited to General Sessions Court for violating state law involving “cash for gold” transactions, a Rutherford County Sheriff’s detective said.
Businesses cited and the purchase amounts were:
• Jim’s Coin on South Church Street in Murfreesboro, $330.
• Mullins Jewelry on Northfield Boulevard in Murfreesboro, $86.
• Coleman Jewelry in Georgetown Square in Murfreesboro, $125.
• Buck’s Jewelry on Lowry Street in Smyrna, $81.
• Roadrunners Salvage on Southeast Broad Street in Murfreesboro, $65.
Detective Steve Brown said he notified businesses in June who make “cash for gold” transactions about changes in state law. The law requires businesses to register with the police chief and sheriff, to hold the jewelry for 30 days, to keep a log about the merchandise and seller including identification, name and date of birth and to allow law enforcement to review statements from the seller that he or she was the lawful owner of the sold item.
Brown and an undercover informant obtained unclaimed and seized jewelry from the sheriff’s office and sold the gold in mid-August to several stores to determine if the stores complied with the state law.
Only one of the five stores asked for identification as required by state law, the detective said. All of the stores sold the gold within two weeks, violating state law that requires the business to hold the gold for 30 days. The stores are supposed to notify law enforcement every Friday about who sold the jewelry and what kind of jewelry was purchased.
The law is important to burglary and theft victims because it’s a means of allowing detectives to track stolen jewelry and to hopefully return the jewelry to the owner, he said.
“If we have a named suspect, we can search the data base of gold buyers and locate the stolen jewelry,” Brown explained.
He compared the law to ones requiring pawn shops to obtain identification from the seller and to hold the merchandise a number of days before selling items.
“All five above listed stores were found not to be in compliance of the state law,” Brown said, adding he filed citations against the stores. They are required to answer the charges Oct. 5 in General Sessions Court.
This is the first time such citations will be heard in Rutherford County courts, the detective said. If convicted, he expects the defendants to face fines and court costs.
Brown expects more undercover buys will be conducted.
“It’s not going to stop it,” Brown said, adding, “If I can restrict where bad guys sell it, it tightens the noose.”