[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Borough Council of the Borough of Berlin 5-4-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-05; amended in its entirety 3-12-2015 by Ord. No. 2015-02. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose and intent of this chapter is to assist law enforcement officials and victims of crime in recovering stolen precious metals, gems, gemstones and/or other articles by requiring minimum reporting, maintenance and distribution criteria for secondhand and transient dealers.
No person shall use, exercise or carry on the business, trade or occupation of buying scrap gold, old gold, silver, jewelry, home electronics/audio and visual equipment, musical instruments, telephones and telephonic equipment, scales, computers, computer hardware and software, typewriters, word processors, scanners, sporting goods of all kinds, antiques, platinum, all other precious metals, tools of all kinds, televisions, DVRs, GPS devices, camcorders, car stereos, gift cards, furniture, clothing or other valuable articles, hereinafter referred to as "secondhand goods or articles," or being a secondhand dealer within the Borough of Berlin without having first obtained a license from the Borough of Berlin Police as hereinafter provided.
For the purposes of this chapter, the following terms, phrases, words and their derivations shall have the meanings ascribed herein. Words used in the present tense shall include the future; words in the plural number shall include the singular number, and words in the singular number shall include the plural number. The word "shall" is always mandatory and not merely directory.
- ACCEPTABLE IDENTIFICATION
- Acceptable forms of identification include: a current, valid New Jersey driver's license or identification card; a current, valid photo driver's license issued by another US state; a valid United States passport; or other verifiable United States government-issued identification.
- Any article of merchandise, including any portion of such article, whether a distinct part thereof or not, including every part thereof, whether separable or not, and also including material for manufacture; and as so defined in N.J.S.A. 51:6-1.
- CHIEF OF POLICE
- The Chief of Police of the Borough of Berlin or his designee/representative.
- A computerized Internet-capable database with hardware and software compliant to that set by the Chief of Police.
- Any person, partnership, corporation, or other entity, whether permanent or itinerant, who, on one or more occasions (through any means), buys or sells or otherwise exchanges or trades secondhand gold, silver, precious metals, gems, or jewelry, and includes anyone advertising the purchase or sale of any of the aforementioned items.
- DESIGNATED VENDOR
- A person or entity who is appointed or designated by the Chief of Police who is authorized to collect and maintain precious metal transaction information, or other purchase information as defined herein, for the Borough of Berlin.
- GIFT CARD
- A restricted monetary equivalent or scrip that is issued by retailers or banks to be used as an alternative to a nonmonetary gift.
- ITINERANT BUSINESS
- Any business conducted intermittently within the Borough of Berlin or at varying locations.
- Any individual, natural person, partnership, joint venture, business, society, associate, club, trustee, trust, corporation, or unincorporated group, or an officer, agent, employee, servant, factor or any form of personal representative of any thereof, in any capacity, acting for self or on behalf of another.
- PRECIOUS METALS
- Comprised of gold, silver, sterling, platinum and/or their alloys, as defined in N.J.S.A. 51:5-1 et seq., N.J.S.A. 51:6-1 et seq., and/or N.J.S.A. 51:6A-1 et seq.; gems, gemstones, coins and all forms of jewelry herein contained.
- Individuals and retail sellers, not to include wholesale transactions or transactions between other merchants.
- The exchange of money and the exchange, deposit, pledge, sale, conveyance or trade of any tangible or intangible article.
- REPORTABLE TRANSACTION
- Every transaction conducted by a dealer in which precious metals, or other tangible property, are purchased or exchanged from or with the public.
- SECONDHAND GOODS
- Any article previously sold, acquired, exchanged, conveyed, traded or otherwise formerly owned, including but not limited to scrap gold, old gold, silver, jewelry, home electronics/audio and visual equipment, musical instruments, telephones and telephonic equipment, scales, computers, computer hardware and software, typewriters, word processors, scanners, sporting goods of all kinds, antiques, platinum, all other precious metals, tools of all kinds, televisions, DVRs, GPS devices, camcorders, car stereos, gift cards, furniture, clothing or other valuable articles.
- TRANSIENT BUYER
- A dealer who has not been in any retail business continuously for at least six months at that address in the municipality where the dealer is required to register or who intends to close out or discontinue all retail business in the Borough of Berlin within six months; or as so defined in N.J.S.A. 51:6A-5 and N.J.A.C. 13:47C-1.1.
Each dealer conducting business within the jurisdiction of the Borough of Berlin shall first register with the Chief of Police, who shall fingerprint the applicant and institute such an investigation of the applicant's moral character and business responsibility as he deems necessary for the protection of the public welfare. In the event that the dealer is a business entity other than a sole proprietorship, the officers in a corporation or the partners in a partnership (or limited partnership) shall be deemed to be the applicant(s) who shall be fingerprinted and investigated in accordance with this section. Upon completion of the investigation, the Chief of Police shall either issue or deny the license based upon the results of his investigation. Upon issuance of the license, the applicant shall be given a copy of this chapter.
A dealer of precious metals, gems or gemstones or secondhand goods shall, prior to buying, attempting to buy or offering to buy, register with the Chief of Police, providing the following information on an application prescribed by the Police Department:
Upon issuance of a license, the fee shall be based as provided in this chapter. A license issued under the provisions of this chapter shall not be transferable and shall terminate on December 31 of the year in which said license is issued.
Editor's Note: Current fees are available at the municipal offices.
Licenses issued under the provisions of this chapter may be revoked by the Chief of Police after a hearing upon notice to the applicant for any of the following causes:
Fraud, misrepresentation, or false statement contained in the application for a license;
Fraud, misrepresentation, or false statement made in the course of carrying on the business of purchasing secondhand precious metals, gems, and jewelry;
Any violation of this chapter;
Conviction of any crime or disorderly persons' offense involving moral turpitude; and
Conducting the business of soliciting or canvassing in an unlawful manner or in such a manner as to constitute a breach of the peace or to constitute a menace to the health, safety, or general welfare of the public.
Notice of the hearing for revocation of a license shall be given in writing, setting forth specifically the grounds of complaint and the time and place of hearing. Such notice shall be mailed, postage prepaid, to the licensee at his last-known address at least five days prior to the date set for the hearing.
Every dealer within the Borough of Berlin shall, upon the purchase of any precious metals or secondhand goods from the public, be required to do as follows:
Record on a numbered receipt the name, address and telephone number of the purchaser; the name, address and telephone number of the seller or sellers; the time and date of the transaction; the net weight in terms of pounds Troy, pennyweight (Troy) or kilograms/grams of the precious metals; fineness in terms of karats for gold, and sterling or coin for silver, in accordance with N.J.S.A. 51:5-1 et seq. and N.J.S.A. 51:6-1 et seq. This information is to be documented through use of an electronic database software system as designated by the Chief of Police. All costs associated with the designated electronic database software system will be incurred by the dealer. Documentation showing all fees associated with the designated electronic database software must be produced prior to the approval of the mercantile license. These records shall be subject to the inspection of any authorized police officer of the Borough of Berlin.
Through the use of applicably required computer equipment, and using the electronic format approved by the Chief of Police, enter all transactions into the electronic database within 48 hours from the date of purchase. The information entered will contain the information in Subsection A above, plus the following:
A physical description of the seller.
The receipt number.
A full description of the item or items purchased, including, but not limited to, marks, numbers, dates, sizes, shapes, initials, monograms and serial numbers.
The price paid for the item.
The form must be signed by the seller.
The form must be legibly initialed by the clerk or the dealer who made the transaction so as to readily identify that individual.
A color photograph or color image of the seller's presented identification.
A color photograph or color image of all items sold. When photographing or imaging, all items must be positioned in a manner that makes them readily and easily identifiable.
The precious metals are to be made available for inspection by the Chief of Police of the Borough of Berlin for a period of 10 business days from the date the information required above is received by the Chief of Police on the approved form and entered into the computerized database by the Chief of Police. The precious metals shall remain in the same condition as when purchased and shall not be changed, modified, melted or disposed of by the purchaser until the ten-day period has expired. During this ten-day period, the precious metals shall be placed in public view at the purchaser's place of business. If the property is such that it would create a hardship on the dealer by holding the precious metals for such period, the dealer may present the property to the Chief of Police in order that it may be photographed and, if deemed necessary by the Chief of Police, an investigation be implemented. The Chief of Police has the authority to grant the dealer a waiver of the requirement under this section.
[Amended 2-22-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-02]
In the event of database failure, or a dealer's computer equipment malfunction, all transaction information is required to be submitted on paper forms approved by the Chief of Police. In the event that paper forms are used, the dealer is responsible to enter all transaction information into the database as soon as possible upon the dealer's equipment being repaired or replaced or the database coming back into service. Failure by the dealer to properly maintain computer equipment in a reasonable fashion, or failure by the dealer to replace faulty computer equipment, may result in the dealer being cited for a violation of this chapter and subsequently being subject to the penalties for doing so.
Dealer payment to sellers in cash shall be limited to two transactions during a seven-day period for the same seller. The seven-day period will commence on the day of the first transaction and end seven days after the transaction, i.e., if Transaction No. 1 occurs on Monday, the seven-day period ends on Sunday. Furthermore, no cash payments shall be made to the same sellers who make more than five transactions in any given thirty-day period. Sellers making transactions over the number of proscribed weekly and monthly periods will be paid by the dealer by means of a bank check drawn from the dealer's business account.
It shall be the requisite duty of every dealer, and of every person in the dealer's employ, to admit to the premises during business hours any member of the Berlin Borough Police Department to examine any database, book, ledger, or any other record on the premises relating to the purchase of precious metals from the public, as well as the articles purchased or received, and to take possession of any article known by the police officer or official to be missing or to have been stolen, or where the officer or official has probable cause to believe the article is missing or stolen.
This chapter shall not apply to purchases made by jewelers or other dealers from wholesalers or other suppliers but shall only apply to those purchases made from the public or other retail purchases. The dealer shall keep records of all wholesale purchases for a period of six months from the date of such purchase, which records shall be opened to investigation by the Berlin Borough Police Department.
No dealer within the Borough of Berlin shall purchase any precious metals from any person under the age of 18 years.
Violation of any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by a minimum fine of $100 or a maximum of $2,000 or by imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days or by a period of community service not exceeding 90 days. Each and every violation shall be considered a separate violation. Every day that a violation continues shall be a separate violation. Each violation shall result in an additional ten-day suspension. Any person who is convicted of violating the provisions of this chapter within one year of the date of a previous violation and who was fined for the previous violation may be sentenced by the court to an additional fine as a repeat offender. The additional fine imposed as a repeat offender shall not be less than the minimum or exceed the maximum fine provided herein, and same shall be calculated separately from the fine imposed for the violation of this chapter.