Borough of Ephrata, PA
Lancaster County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Ephrata 12-8-1986 by Ord. No. 1155.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Abandoned vehicles and property — See Ch. 111.
Garage and yard sales — See Ch. 189.
Transient retail businesses — See Ch. 293.
[1]
Editor's Note: The title of this chapter was amended from "Junk Dealers" to "Pawnbrokers and Antique, Secondhand and Junk Dealers" 7-11-2011 by Ord. No. 1475.

§ 197-1 Definitions and word usage.

A. 
When not inconsistent with the context, words used in the present tense include the future, words in the plural number include the singular number, words in the singular number include the plural number, and words in the masculine gender shall include the feminine. The word "shall" is always mandatory and not merely directory.
B. 
The following terms, phrases, words and their derivations shall have the following meanings:
AGENT
A natural individual, unincorporated association, partnership, corporation or any other legally recognized entity, and the members of such partnership and the officers of such corporation, their employees and contractors, authorized by the Council of the Borough of Ephrata to provide electronic inventory tracking services for the use of the Ephrata Police Department to assist in the identification of stolen merchandise and the investigation of thefts.
[Added 5-8-2017 by Ord. No. 1530]
ANTIQUE OR SECONDHAND DEALER
Any person who either wholly or in part engages in or operates the trade or business of buying and/or selling used goods, such as antiques, precious stones, metals, jewelry, tools, electrical devices, coins, fixtures, appliances, household goods, firearms and bric-a-brac. Hobbiests are excluded, which are defined as any person who is engaged in the buying/selling of antiques, toys, precious stones, coins, jewelry, precious metals and firearms in amounts of less than 50% of total annual income and who do not operate from a rented or owned area outside the home. The foregoing enumeration of articles, goods and property shall not be deemed to be exclusive or all inclusive. Exempted are judicial sales or sales by executors or administrators, sales by unredeemed pledges by or on behalf of licensed pawnbrokers in the manner prescribed by law, occasional or auction sales of household goods sold from private homes and auctions of real estate.
BUSINESS
Every kind of vocation, occupation, profession, enterprise, establishment and all other kinds of activities and matters, together with all devices, machines, vehicles and appurtenances used therein, which are conducted for profit or benefit, directly or indirectly, on any premises in the Borough.
DEALER IN PRECIOUS METALS
An individual, partnership, association, corporation or business entity who or which purchases precious metals from the general public for resale or refining or an individual who acts as agent for the individual, partnership, association, corporation or business entity for the purchases. The term does not include financial institutions licensed under the federal or state banking laws, the purchaser of precious metals who purchases from a seller seeking a trade-in or allowance, the manufacturers of jewelry or of other items composed, in whole or in part, of gold, silver or platinum and the purchaser of precious metals for his or her own use
[Added 7-11-2011 by Ord. No. 1475]
ELECTRONIC INVENTORY TRACKING SYSTEM
A secure, confidential electronic database system authorized by the Council of the Borough of Ephrata, designed for law enforcement agencies to assist the tracking and identification of certain personal property, and that provides to each authorized user login security protocols that employ technologies to protect acquired data from unauthorized access and malicious intrusion.
[Added 5-8-2017 by Ord. No. 1530]
JUNK DEALER
Any person who shall carry on the business of buying or selling and dealing in worn out and discarded material that may be turned to some use, especially scrap, iron, brass, lead, copper, aluminum and other metals or alloys or other materials commonly referred to as "junk."
LICENSE
Such document(s) as the Chief of Police or his or her designated representative shall prescribe by rule or regulation as evidence that the provisions of this chapter have been properly followed.
PAWNBROKER
Any person who:
(1) 
Engages in the business of lending money on the deposit or pledge of personal property other than choses in action, securities or written evidence of indebtedness;
(2) 
Purchases personal property with an express or implied agreement or understanding to sell it back at a subsequent time at a stipulated price; or
(3) 
Lends money upon goods, wares or merchandise pledged, stored or deposited as collateral security.
PERSON
Individual natural persons, partnerships, joint ventures, societies, associations, clubs, trustees, trusts or corporations, or any officers, agents, employees, factors or any kind of personal representative of any of the above, in any capacity, acting either for himself or for any person, under either personal appointment or pursuant to law.
PLEDGE
An article or articles deposited with a pawnbroker as security for a loan in the course of his or her business as defined under "pawnbroker."
PLEDGOR
The person who obtains a loan from a pawnbroker and delivers a pledge into the possession of a pawnbroker, unless such person discloses that he or she is or was acting for another, in which case a "pledgor" means the disclosed principal.
POLICE CHIEF
The Chief of Police of the Ephrata Borough Police Department or his or her designated representative.
POLICE
The publicly supported Police Department of the Borough of Ephrata.
PRECIOUS METALS
Items containing or being of gold, silver or platinum, including, but not limited to, jewelry and silver services. The term does not include coins, ingots, bullion or photographic film or articles containing less than 5% of gold, silver or platinum.
[Added 7-11-2011 by Ord. No. 1475]
PREMISES
All lands, structures, places and also the equipment and appurtenances connected or used therewith in any business, and also any personal property which is either affixed to or is otherwise used in connection with any such business conducted on such premises.

§ 197-2 Unlawful activities.

A. 
It is unlawful for any pawnbroker, junk dealer or antique or secondhand dealer to exercise or carry on trade or business within the Borough of Ephrata without first obtaining a license from the Borough and displaying it in a place where it may be seen at all times.
B. 
It is unlawful for any pawnbroker, junk dealer, antique or secondhand dealer to receive, accept or purchase articles from individuals under 18 years of age, any person under the influence of drugs or intoxicants or any known thieves.
C. 
It is unlawful for any pawnbroker, junk dealer or antique or secondhand dealer to receive, accept or purchase from anyone not known to them without first requiring some form of identification which, at a minimum, shall include the individual's name, address and either the individual's motor vehicle operator's number, the individual's social security number or, if the individual does not have this information, other such proof of identity as the Chief of Police shall provide by regulation.
D. 
It is unlawful for any pawnbroker, junk dealer or antique or secondhand dealer to fail to keep or forward other records and books as required by this chapter.
E. 
It is unlawful for any pawnbroker, junk dealer or antique or secondhand dealer to fail to permit the police all reasonable inspections of his or her business and examinations of his or her books containing information required to be kept by this chapter.
F. 
It is unlawful for any pawnbroker, junk dealer or antique or secondhand dealer to operate his or her business after his or her license is revoked or suspended.
G. 
It is unlawful for any pawnbroker, junk dealer or antique or secondhand dealer to loan, sell, give, assign to any other person or allow any other person to use or display or to destroy, damage or remove or to have in his or her possession, except as authorized, any license which has been issued to said licensee.
H. 
It is unlawful for any pawnbroker, junk dealer or antique or secondhand dealer to fail to keep in Ephrata Borough and retain in the original form, shape or condition any items acquired in the course of their business for a minimum period of 72 hours from the time of furnishing the required report to the police. In the case where retention for the time period required would result in serious and substantial economic loss to the dealer or the probability of such loss is significant due to rapid or highly fluctuating market conditions or in the case of a transient business or person who desires to move the items acquired from the Borough shortly after purchase, the minimum retention period may be waived by the police after inspection and, if necessary, any photographing of the goods by police. The waiver shall be acknowledged in writing by the police upon the completed report form required to be turned into the police.

§ 197-3 License required; application requirements; investigation; issuance or denial.

A. 
Every individual or person desiring to engage in those acts referred to in § 197-2A above must obtain a license from the Borough of Ephrata.
B. 
To obtain a license, individuals or persons must complete a written application which shall contain such information as is reasonably required by the Chief of Police but which, at a minimum, shall include a sworn affidavit that the information furnished is true and correct.
C. 
Upon receipt of a complete application accompanied by the fee required in § 197-4, the Police Department shall have 15 working days to investigate the applicant, process the application and to grant or deny a license.
D. 
Licenses to applicants shall be denied if:
(1) 
The applicant does not agree to comply or fails to comply with the requirements of this chapter and rules and regulations adopted pursuant to this chapter;
(2) 
The applicant has knowingly made any false, misleading or fraudulent statement of a material act in the application or in any report or record required to be kept or filed with the police;
(3) 
The applicant or his or her employee, agent, representative or contractor or other person engaged in the business has been convicted of the crime of burglary, theft or receiving stolen goods; or
[Amended 4-14-2014 by Ord. No. 1502]
(4) 
The applicant has had a similar license revoked or suspended in good cause in this or another state for reasons which justify suspension or revocation in this chapter.
E. 
If the applicant is approved, the Chief of Police or his or her designated representative is authorized to sign and issue the license.
F. 
If a license is denied, the applicant shall be notified in writing of the denial and the basis thereof. If the reasons for denial are correctable, the applicant will be advised with suggestions on how these corrections can be made and what time limit has been set for making said corrections. The notice of denial shall inform the applicant that appeals may be made in the manner outlined in § 197-6 of this chapter.

§ 197-4 License fees.

[Amended 4-8-1996 by Ord. No. 1279]
A. 
All pawnbrokers and junk dealers shall pay a license fee as established from time to time by resolution of the Borough Council[1] per calendar year.
[1]
Editor's Note: The current fee schedule is on file in the office of the Borough Manager.
B. 
All antique dealers or secondhand dealers, excluding hobbiests, shall pay a license fee as established from time to time by resolution of the Borough Council[2] per calendar year. Those antiques or secondhand dealers who engage in no promotion and advertising and can prove by appropriate records that total purchases in the previous year did not exceed $1,500 are exempt from the license fee and shall pay an alternative fee as established from time to time by resolution of the Borough Council.[3]
[2]
Editor's Note: The current fee schedule is on file in the office of the Borough Manager.
[3]
Editor's Note: The current fee schedule is on file in the office of the Borough Manager.

§ 197-5 Suspension or revocation of license.

A. 
Any license issued may be suspended or revoked by the Chief of Police for any of the reasons below:
(1) 
The practice of any fraud, deceit, misrepresentation or furnishing false information in obtaining or attempting to obtain a license.
(2) 
The practice of fraud, deceit, misrepresentation or furnishing false information in the course of carrying on the licensed business.
(3) 
The conviction of any of the unlawful activities set forth in this chapter for the particular business license involved.
(4) 
Violation of or noncompliance with the provisions of this chapter or rules and regulations issued under the authority of this chapter.
(5) 
Loaning, borrowing or using a license of another, or of knowingly aiding or abetting in any way the granting of improper licenses.
(6) 
The doing of any act or engaging in any conduct in the course of the business which demonstrates incompetency, bad faith or dishonesty or substantially adversely affects the health, safety or general welfare of the public.
B. 
When the Chief of Police decides to suspend or revoke a license issued under this chapter, he or she shall cause notice to be sent to the licensee which shall contain the reasons for suspension or revocation.

§ 197-6 Appeals; hearings.

A. 
Any person aggrieved by denial of an application for a license or renewal of a license or suspension or revocation of a license shall have the right of appeal to Ephrata Borough Council.
B. 
Appeals must be filed within 15 days after receipt of notice from the Chief of Police. Appeals shall be made by filing with the Secretary of Ephrata Borough Council a letter of appeal briefly stating therein the basis for the appeal, together with a filing and processing fee in the amount as established from time to time by resolution of the Borough Council.[1]
[Amended 4-8-1996 by Ord. No. 1279]
[1]
Editor's Note: The current fee schedule is on file in the office of the Borough Manager.
C. 
Failure to file a letter of appeal within the fifteen-day period shall constitute a waiver of appellant's right to a hearing; however, Borough Council, in its sole discretion, may nevertheless grant such a hearing.
D. 
The hearing by Ephrata Borough Council will be set no more than 15 days after receipt of the letter of appeal. Five days' advance notice of the time and date of the hearing shall be sent to the appellant.
E. 
At the hearing with the Borough Council, the appellant and any other interested party shall be given a reasonable opportunity to be heard in order to show cause why the determination of the Chief of Police should not be upheld. In all cases, the burden of proof shall be upon the appellant to show that there was no substantial evidence to support the decision of the Police Chief.
F. 
The hearing may be recorded by tape or other mechanical means. A brief summary of the evidence considered, findings of fact and the final decision reached by the Borough Council shall be prepared. The decision of the Borough Council shall be binding on all parties.

§ 197-7 Reports to be filed with Police Department.

A. 
Within 30 days from its receipt of the secure, confidential, electronic inventory tracking system provided to that dealer by the Police Department or its agent, every pawnbroker, junk dealer, antique or secondhand dealer shall create daily reports that are generated, installed, maintained and employed via that secure, confidential electronic inventory tracking system. Each report shall:
[Amended 3-11-2013 by Ord. No. 1490; 5-8-2017 by Ord. No. 1530]
(1) 
Be electronically transmitted and received by the Police Department or its agent by the close of business each day; and
(2) 
Contain a chronological listing of all transactions and articles received during the course of business for that business day, together with the description of the person or persons making such sale, including such person’s name, age and address, and an accurate description of each article received, accepted or bought, including brand name, model number, serial number, inscribed initials, dates, names and any other forms of identification on the article, and a notification of the type of identification accepted by the dealer, along with an identifier number assigned by the dealer to that article; and
(3) 
Contain photographs of each item purchased that shall be sufficient in number, color and detail to readily identify the item; and
(4) 
Be uploaded by the dealer to the system not later than the conclusion of each business day in the manner specified by the Police Department or its agent and contain all required tracking information for all transactions that occurred during that business day.
B. 
Transactions involving a trade-in or allowance on goods or items originally sold by the dealer to the person seeking such trade-in or allowance, a trade-in on a like item or dealer-to-dealer are exempted from the reporting requirements.
C. 
In addition, pawnbrokers, junk dealers, antique or secondhand dealers shall file such additional reports as may from time to time be required by the Borough and in such form as the Borough may require from time to time by resolution.

§ 197-8 Promulgation of rules and regulations.

The Chief of Police may promulgate such rules and regulations as are necessary for administration and enforcement of this chapter. Any such rules and regulations promulgated shall be approved by the Borough Council and shall be available for public inspection.

§ 197-9 Confidentiality.

The information furnished and secured pursuant to this chapter shall be confidential in character and shall not be subject to public inspection and shall be kept so that the contents thereof shall not be known except to persons charged with the administration and enforcement of this chapter or the administration and enforcement of the criminal justice system.

§ 197-10 Violations and penalties.

A. 
Any person violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction in a civil enforcement proceeding before a Magisterial District Judge, be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $600 together with the costs of prosecution. Each day or portion thereof in which a violation exists shall be considered a separate violation of this chapter, and each article and section of each article that is violated shall be considered a separate violation.
[Amended 4-8-1996 by Ord. No. 1279; 3-11-2013 by Ord. No. 1490]
B. 
The payment of any fees required shall not be a bar against prosecution for any violations under this chapter. Each incident constitutes a separate offense.

§ 197-11 Effect on existing laws; greater restrictions to apply.

[Added 7-11-2011 by Ord. No. 1475]
A. 
The licensing, enforcement and penalty provisions of this Chapter 197 shall not apply to that portion of a business activity herein defined as a "dealer in precious metals" to the extent that the same shall be regulated by the provisions of the Act of February 24, 1984 (P.L. 92, No. 17) (73 P.S. §§ 1931 to 1942), and 37 Pa. Code § 501.3.
B. 
This chapter shall not repeal, abrogate, annul or in any way impair or interfere with existing provisions of other laws or ordinances; provided, however, that where this chapter imposes a greater restriction upon persons, premises or personal property than is imposed or required by such existing provisions of law, ordinance, contract or deed, the provisions of this chapter shall control.