City of Fitchburg, MA
Worcester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Fitchburg as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Pawnbroker licenses — See Ch. 120, § 120-8.
[Adopted 12-21-2004 by Ord. No. 250-04]
A. 
The Fitchburg Police Chief may license suitable persons to be pawnbrokers, pursuant to law. Such licenses shall not be valid to protect the holders thereof in a building or place other than that designated in the license, unless consent to removal is granted by the Police Chief. Applications for new licenses under this rule may be filed at any time with the Police Chief. Applications for the reissue of licenses already existing should be filed at least 30 days before the expiration of such licenses. All licenses issued hereunder shall expire annually on the last day of December. Persons whose licenses have expired and have not been reissued will be liable to prosecution if carrying on the business for which the license is required. Every person so licensed shall, at the time of receiving such license, file a bond as provided by state law.
B. 
Persons who engage in or carry on the business of lending money on mortgages, deposits or pledges of wearing apparel, jewelry, ornaments, household goods or other personal property, or of purchasing such property on condition of selling the same back again at a stipulated price, when the property so mortgaged, pledged or purchased is deposited with the lender, must be licensed as pawnbrokers. This provision, however, does not apply to loans made on stock, bonds, notes or other written or printed evidence of ownership of property or of indebtedness to the holder or owner of such securities. (MGL c. 140, § 70 - 85)
A. 
Licensed pawnbrokers may charge interest at the rate of 3% per month, and in no event may they charge more than the rate allowed by the Massachusetts Commissioner of Banks.
[Amended 4-7-2009 by Ord. No. 077-09]
B. 
No such pawnbrokers shall charge or receive any greater rate of interest, and interest shall be determined on the precise sum advanced by the lender.
C. 
No pawnbroker shall make or receive any extra charge or fee for storage, care or safekeeping of any goods, articles or things pawned with him. (MGL c. 140, § 78)
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
Any officer of the Police Chief may, at any time, enter upon any premises used by a licensed pawnbroker for the purposes of his or her business, ascertain how he or she conducts his or her business and examine all articles taken in pawn or kept or stored in or upon said premises, and all books and inventories shall be exhibited to any above named whenever a demand shall be made for such exhibition. (MGL c. 140, § 73) (Penalty for refusal, MGL c. 140, § 74)
Every licensed pawnbroker shall, at the time of making any loan, attach a number to the article taken in pawn, and shall make entry of such number in the book provided for by § 130-5.
A. 
Every licensed pawnbroker shall keep a book of a style and size in which shall be legibly written in ink, in the English language, at the time of making each loan, an account and description, including all distinguishing marks and numbers, of the goods, articles or things pledged or pawned, the amount of money loaned thereon, the day and hour when it was pawned, the rate of interest to be paid on such loan, the number of such article as same. No entry made in said book shall be erased, obliterated or defaced.
B. 
Every pawnbroker shall photograph any person pawning or pledging articles and keep such photographs with said books as part of his or her records. (MGL c. 140, § 79)
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
C. 
For all loans, every pawnbroker shall also require positive identification and record the type of identification presented and record the date of birth from any person pawning or pledging any article. Positive identification shall mean any picture identification card issued by a governmental agency.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
Each pledger shall be required by the pawnbroker to sign his or her name, age and address on a card. In the event that the pledger is unable to write, the pawnbroker shall fill in the name, age and address on such card, together with a notation stating that the pledger was unable to do so. Such card shall be retained seven years in an alphabetical index file by the licensed pawnbrokers.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
Every pawnbroker shall, at the time of making such loan, deliver to the person who pawns or pledges any goods, articles or things, a memorandum or note signed by him, containing the substance of the entry required to be made in his or her book by the provisions of § 130-5; and no charge shall be made or required by any pawnbroker for any such entry, memorandum or note. (MGL c. 140, § 80)
A. 
Every licensed pawnbroker shall make out and deliver to the Fitchburg Police Chief, every day before the hour of 10:00 a.m., a legible and correct list containing an accurate description, including all distinguishable marks and numbers of all articles taken in pawn during the preceding business day, the respective numbers of such articles as provided by § 130-4, the amount loaned thereon, and the time when such articles were pawned. If during the preceding day no articles have been taken in pawn by such pawnbroker, he or she shall make out and deliver to the Police Chief before the hour of 10:00 a.m., a report of such fact.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
B. 
If any goods or articles pawned or pledged and in the possession of a pawnbroker are subsequently determined to be stolen property by a member of the Fitchburg or State Police, or if the rightful owner identifies property in the possession of a pawnbroker and the property so identified is confirmed to be stolen pawned goods by a member of the Fitchburg or State Police, upon direction by the Fitchburg or State Police said property shall be returned to the rightful owner at no cost to such owner.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
A. 
Every licensed pawnbroker shall post in a conspicuous place in his or her shop or office a copy of the statutes, ordinances and police regulations relating to pawnbrokers, to be furnished by the Police Chief, and shall put in some suitable and conspicuous place in his or her shop a sign having his or her name and occupation legibly inscribed thereon in large letters.
B. 
No pawnbroker shall place or maintain any signs or devices upon or in connection with his or her licensed premises indicating or tending to indicate that any form of business is conducted therein which he or she is not legally authorized to pursue.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
No pawnbroker shall have his or her shop open for the transaction of business, except between sunrise and 9:00 in the evening of any weekday except Saturday, on which day such shop may be kept open from sunrise until 10:00 in the evening.
A. 
Articles deposited in pawn with a licensed pawnbroker shall, unless redeemed, be retained by him or her on the premises occupied by him or her for his or her business for at least four months after the date of deposit.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
B. 
After the expiration of the applicable period of time, he or she may sell the article by public auction, apply the proceeds thereof in satisfaction of the debt or demand and the expense of the notice and sale, and pay any surplus to the person entitled thereto on demand.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
C. 
No such sale of any article which is not of a perishable nature shall be made unless not less than 10 days prior to the sale a written notice of the intended sale shall have been sent by registered mail to the person entitled to the payment of any surplus as aforesaid, addressed to his or her residence, as appearing in the records of such pawnbrokers. Proof of registered mail shall be kept on file for one year after the date of sale.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
D. 
No article taken in pawn by such pawnbroker shall be disposed of otherwise than as above provided, any agreement or contract between the parties thereto to the contrary notwithstanding.
E. 
Articles of personal apparel shall not be deemed to be of a perishable nature within the meaning of this section. (MGL c. 140, § 71)
A. 
No pawnbroker shall make a loan, directly or indirectly, to a minor, knowing or having reason to believe him or her to be such.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
B. 
No pawnbroker shall loan money secured by deposit or pledge of a firearm, rifle, shotgun or machine gun. (MGL c. 140, § 131B)
C. 
No pawnbroker shall hold a license to sell, rent, or lease a firearm, rifle, shotgun, or machine gun.
A. 
Complaints concerning licensed pawnbrokers shall be investigated by the Fitchburg Police Chief. An investigation shall be made in all such instances.
B. 
In the event the Police Chief determines that disciplinary action should be instituted against a licensed pawnbroker, the Police Chief shall cause to be served upon the licensed pawnbroker notice as to the time, date and place of hearing of the charge with a statement of the reasons for the proposed disciplinary action. Hearings shall be conducted in accordance with Police Chief procedure.
The Police Chief may suspend or revoke licenses provided for by this article for any cause which the Police Chief deems sufficient. Offenses which may result in the suspension or revocation of a pawnbroker's license include but are not limited to the following:
A. 
A violation of any section of this article.
B. 
A violation of any provision of any statute or applicable law.
[Adopted 5-4-2011 by Ord. No. 055-2011]
The City of Fitchburg finds that there is a cognizable risk for stolen metals to end up in the possession of even legitimate businesses which trade in metals, including precious metals. Certain criminals bring stolen metals, including precious metals, to dealers in jewelry and scrap metal. The victims of theft have only small hope of recovering their property unless the people and entities who receive scrap metals and jewelry are regulated in a manner which identifies both the metal received by the dealers and the persons who deliver the metal to these dealers. There is an internet alert system used by the Fitchburg Police Department, which reports stolen metals. Monitoring transactions within the City and identifying both the metals and the persons selling or delivering these metals will serve both to deter theft and to enable the Fitchburg Police Department to trace and recover stolen property and return it to the rightful owners.
As used in this Article II, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ARTICLE
Any metal which is subject to this Article II and is exchanged, sold, collected, bartered or received by a person dealing in metals.
CHIEF OF POLICE
The Chief of the Fitchburg Police Department or his or her designee.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
EXCHANGE
Receiving, purchasing, selling or bartering metals, including precious metals and industrial scrap metals.
METAL
A chemical element that is malleable, opaque and ductile, usually solid, which has a characteristic luster, is a good conductor of heat and electricity, and can be melted or fused, hammered into thin sheets, or drawn into wires, e.g., copper, aluminum, gold, silver or iron or other metals.
PRECIOUS METAL(S)
Any metal which is considered valuable, such as silver, gold, platinum, copper, without regard to the form or amount of such precious metal.
A. 
No person shall collect, deal in, exchange, buy, or keep a shop or place for the exchange, purchase, sale or barter of metals, including precious metals and industrial metals, in any building or place within the limits of the City without having a license from the Chief of Police. The license requirement and the other requirements of this Article II shall not apply to commercial haulers having valid, current United States Department of Transportation stickers affixed to their vehicles.
B. 
The Chief of Police may, for a fee set by him, and based upon an application devised by him, license suitable persons to be dealers in and keepers of shops or locations for the purchase, sale or barter of precious metals at such places within the City as may be designated in such license. The Chief of Police may place reasonable conditions on such licenses which shall be inscribed on the face of the license. A license shall be limited to a specific address stated thereon. Subject to the notice and appeal provisions contained in § 130-23 of this Article II, the Police Chief may deny a license to any person who, in the exercise of his or her reasonable discretion, is unsuitable.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
C. 
All metal dealer licenses shall expire annually on June 30. The license holders shall be responsible for submitting an application for license renewal with the license fee to the Police Chief at least 30 days prior to June 30. Upon receipt of an application for renewal, the Police Chief shall consider the performance of the licensee during the previous year and shall determine whether the licensee had been found in violation of this Article II and other ordinances and regulations of the City applicable to metal dealers.
D. 
The Police Chief may promulgate reasonable regulations not inconsistent with this Article II which shall be binding upon all licensees. No regulation shall take effect until the expiration of 30 days from the date the regulation(s) is delivered or mailed to the persons then licensed. The Police Chief shall deliver a complete set of regulations and any amendments thereto to the City Clerk. The Police Chief and the City Clerk shall maintain the complete set of all regulations in a book available to the public.
E. 
The obligation to obtain a license as required by this section will take effect 45 days after it is finally enacted.
No licensee shall, directly or indirectly, exchange any metals with a person under the age of 18.
[Amended 11-1-2011 by Ord. No. 216-2011; 9-17-2014 by Ord. No. 217-2014]
No article exchanged, purchased or received shall be sold, or altered in appearance, form or substance until a period of at least 21 days have elapsed from the date of its purchase or receipt. All articles exchanged, purchased or received must be made available to the Fitchburg Police Department upon request within 24 hours of such request, and the Police Department may investigate to determine if any article is, or may be, stolen property. This waiting period does not apply to scrap metal yards which are exempt from any waiting period.
[Amended 11-1-2011 by Ord. No. 216-2011]
Every licensee shall electronically create and send to the Police Chief, on a form, in the manner and at the time prescribed by the Police Chief, a legible, a complete and accurate list containing an accurate description of all metal articles received by the licensee during the previous 24 hours. The description must include: the type of metal; the size and/or quantity; whether the article is or may be a precious metal; if applicable, whether the article is typically used by or associated with a male or female; the wording of any engraving; whether the article has any gems or precious stones; any identifying number and every other identifiable trait.
A. 
Every licensee shall, at the time of making any exchange or receipt of any article, assign and attach a number to each article received and shall make entry of such number in the book described in Subsection B.
B. 
Every licensee shall keep a book in which shall be legibly written in ink, in the English language, at the time the licensee receives any article the following information:
(1) 
An account and description, including all distinguishing or identifying marks and numbers of every article received by the licensee.
(2) 
The amount of money, if any, paid for the article.
(3) 
The date and hour when it was received.
(4) 
The name, age, permanent address and telephone number of the person from whom purchased or received.
(5) 
A copy of the document used to identify the person giving the article to the licensee.
C. 
Every licensee shall require positive identification from any person selling or exchanging any article. The licensee shall copy and record the type of identification presented and the date of birth from any person giving or exchanging any article. Positive identification means only a government-issued document with the person's name and photograph. The licensee shall photograph any person exchanging any article(s). A copy of the identification and the photograph shall be kept with the book required by this section as part of his or her records.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
D. 
No entry made in the book required by this section shall be erased, obliterated or defaced in any manner whatsoever. The book shall, at all times, be open for the inspection by the Police Chief or any police officer. The licensee shall keep and maintain all the records required by this Article II for a period of three years from the date of the last entry in any book.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
Every licensee shall post, in some suitable and conspicuous place where he or she receives or exchanges articles a sign having his or her personal name, and his or her business name, if different, and his or her occupation legibly described thereon in large letters. The current license shall also be so posted. The location where transactions occur, the store or shop and all articles exchanged and or kept therein or received therein and the book and documents required by this Article II, may at all times, be examined by the Police Chief or any police officer at their request.
A. 
Whoever, not having a valid license as required by this Article II, exchanges, collects, deals in or barters metals in any place or manner other than that designated in his or her license, or after notice to him or her that his or her license has been revoked, or whoever violates this Article II or any rule, regulation or restriction contained in his or her license, or any regulation promulgated by the Chief of Police shall be subject to the fines and sanctions described in this section. Each day of such violation shall constitute a separate offense.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
B. 
The fine for breach of the duty imposed by this Article II is $300. Each day on which the person continues in violation shall be considered as a separate violation.
C. 
All invoices for the payment of municipal charges and bills, fines or violations under any provision of this Article II or arising in connection with enforcing this Article II are due and payable within 14 days after they are mailed or delivered unless a different due date is otherwise provided by law or ordinance. Any invoice remaining unpaid after its due date will accrue interest from the due date at the rate of interest charged on tax bills under the provisions of MGL c. 59, § 57, as the same may from time to time be amended. The fees and charges assessed under this Article II, together with interest thereon and costs relative thereto, shall be a lien upon the real estate as described in MGL c. 40, § 58. The lien shall take effect upon the recording of a list of unpaid municipal charges and fees by parcel of land and by the name of the person assessed for the charge or fee in the registry of deeds and, if a charge or fee which is secured by a municipal charges lien remains unpaid when the Assessors are preparing a real estate tax list and warrant to be committed under MGL c. 59, § 53, the enforcing authority in charge of collecting the charge or fee, or the Collector of Taxes shall certify the charge or fee to the Assessors, who shall forthwith add the charge or fee to the tax on the property to which it relates and commit it with their warrant to the Collector of Taxes as part of such tax.
D. 
If the property to which such charge or fee relates is tax exempt, the charge or fee shall be committed as a tax. A lien under this section may be discharged by filing a certificate from the Tax Collector that all municipal charges or fees constituting the lien, together with any interest and costs thereon, have been paid or legally abated. All costs of recording or discharging a lien under this section shall be borne by the owner of the property.
E. 
This Article II may also, in the discretion of the Chief of Police, be enforced by civil process or by noncriminal disposition as provided in MGL c. 40, § 21D. The Chief of Police or any Fitchburg police officer may issue tickets to enforce this Article II. If enforced civilly by ticket each day on which a violation exists shall be deemed to be a separate offense, and the violator shall be subject to the following fines:
(1) 
First violation: $150.
(2) 
Second violation: $200.
(3) 
Third violation: $300.
(4) 
Fourth and each subsequent violation: $300.
F. 
In addition to the penalties set forth above, the enforcing authority may seek an injunction from an appropriate court to restrain any violation of this Article II, any regulation promulgated by the Chief of Police or any condition inscribed on a license.
G. 
The Chief of Police may terminate any license or refuse to renew any license for violation of this Article II, a regulation promulgated by the Chief of Police or any condition inscribed on the license. He or she shall use the procedure described in this section.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
(1) 
Notice of violation. Whenever it comes to the attention of the Police Chief or any police officer that a violation of this Article II, a regulation of the Police Chief or a condition inscribed on a license, the Police Chief shall, by written notice, delivered personally or sent by certified mail to the licensee notifying him or her of the violation and ordering the person to cease and desist. Depending on the severity of the violation as determined by him, the Chief of Police may terminate the license. The Police Chief shall also provide notice described herein if he or she determines to deny an application for a license stating the reasons therefor.
(2) 
Contents of notice. The written notice to the licensee shall contain a description of the violation(s) and the date(s) of occurrence and a citation to the section of the ordinance, regulation or license condition which the licensee is alleged to have violated. The notice will, if applicable, describe what the licensee must do to comply, whether the Police Chief intends to terminate the license and the effective date of the termination which shall afford the licensee at least seven days to file an appeal of the proposed termination to the Mayor. In the case of denial of a license, the notice shall state the reasons for the denial.
(3) 
Appeal. Upon receipt of a notice of license termination, or denial, the licensee may, within seven days of receipt of the notice, file a written appeal by delivery or certified mail to the Mayor's office during the hours of 8:30 to 4:30 on days when City Hall is open for business. When the Mayor receives an appeal, he or she shall appoint a neutral hearing officer who will take testimony from any persons with knowledge of the facts including any police officer and the appellant. The appellant may be represented by counsel, and any person so testifying will be subject to cross examination. The proceedings will be governed by the rules of evidence applicable to an informal administrative hearing. The hearing officer will assure that an appropriate record, including any documents submitted, is made and kept. The decision of the hearing officer will be written and final.
H. 
The Chief of Police, subject to the process described in this section, may refuse to renew any license. The Chief shall not issue a license to any person convicted of a felony.
A. 
Each section, each provision or requirement of any section of this Article II shall be considered separable. If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase or portion of this Article II is for any reason held invalid or unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, such portion shall be deemed a separate, distinct and independent provision, and such holding shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions hereof.
B. 
It is the intent of the City of Fitchburg, acting by and through its legislative and executive branches, to regulate the business of buying, selling and metals, including precious metals, and to prohibit certain behaviors and conduct as set forth in this Article II consistent with the Constitutions of the United States and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the statutory provisions of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Any ambiguity or doubt in interpreting or construing any section, word or provision of this Article II shall be resolved in a manner so as to further the expressed intent of the Article II.