Harford County, MD
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Harford County Council by Bill No. 17-006.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Auctions and auctioneers — See Ch. 72.
Peddling and soliciting — See Ch. 197.
Special sales — See Ch. 211.
[1]
Editor’s Note: This bill also repealed former Ch. 188, Pawnbrokers, adopted by Bill No. 75-76, as amended.
The purpose of this chapter is to protect the health, safety, and general welfare of the citizens of Harford County by establishing procedures that regulate pawnshops in order to identify stolen property, prevent the disposition of stolen property, and to return stolen property to its owner.
AUTOMATED PURCHASING MACHINE
A self-service device that is designed to dispense money in exchange for personal property and is also known as a reverse vending machine.
DEPARTMENT
Harford County Department of Inspections, Licenses and Permits.
EMPLOYEE
A person who is employed by a pawnbroker to buy, sell or supervise the buying or selling of secondhand personal property or other articles and objects that are pawned, bought or sold under the license of a pawnbroker.
GIFT CARD
A device constructed of paper, plastic, or any other material that is sold or isuued by a person for a cash value that can be used to purchase goods or services or is issued as a store credit for returned goods; and is also known as and includes a gift certificate.
PAWN TRANSACTION
A loan of money by a dealer on deposit or pledge of personal property or other valuable thing other than securities or printed evidences of indebtedness, or a purchase by a dealer of personal property or other valuable things on condition of selling the same back at a stipulated price.
PAWNBROKER
A person who engages in pawn transactions.
PRECIOUS METAL OBJECT
A precious metal object is:
A. 
A precious metal that is: gold, iridium, palladium, platinum, or silver;
B. 
A precious or semiprecious stone, or a pearl, that is or appears to have been attached to or inlaid in a precious metal listed in Paragraph A above or any alloy of a precious metal; or
C. 
An object that is composed of a precious metal listed in Paragraph A above or any alloy of a precious metal if:
(1) 
The market value of the metal in the object lies principally in its precious metal component; or
(2) 
At least 25% of the weight of the object is precious metal or the market value of the metal in the object lies principally in its precious metal component.
SECONDHAND PERSONAL PROPERTY
Previously owned personal property offered for commercial sale or as collateral by any person, other than the manufacturer, wholesale distributor, or original retail seller. Secondhand personal property does not include personal property purchased at a public sale, precious metals or coins.
SHERIFF
The elected Sheriff of Harford County or any of the Sheriff's deputies.
A. 
Every pawnbroker prior to doing business in the County shall purchase a license for that purpose. Such license shall be for the term of 1 year, beginning on January 1 and expiring on December 31 of the following year. The license shall be issued by the Department at the cost provided in § 157-24 of the County Code. The pawnbroker must also pay any administrative and reporting fees that are required.
B. 
All license holders and applicants at the time of each license application or renewal shall submit to a state criminal history check and pay the cost therefor. No applicant or license holder shall have been convicted of any felony, and/or any crimes of theft, fraud, precious metal, and/or pawnbroker law violations.
C. 
An application for a pawnbroker license shall include:
(1) 
The location, mailing address, and phone number of the premises where the pawnbroker will operate.
(2) 
The location, mailing address, and phone number of any off-site storage location where the pawnbroker will store items.
(3) 
If the pawnbroker is not the owner of the premises, written acknowledgement from the owner of the premises approving the use of the premises to engage in pawnbroker transactions.
(4) 
If the pawnbroker is not the owner of the off-site storage location, written acknowledgement from the owner of the off-site storage location approving the use of the off-site storage location to store items.
(5) 
If the pawnbroker is not the owner of the premises or off-site storage location, a copy of their current lease shall be included with their application.
(6) 
Any off-site storage area shall be approved in advance by the Sheriff. If a vehicle is being stored it shall be secured in a locked building or fenced in lot.
(7) 
An application shall include, on a form provided by the Sheriff, authorization for inspection by the Sheriff and law enforcement during business hours to inspect a record required to be maintained under this chapter or secondhand personal property as part of a stolen property investigation.
(8) 
An application shall include a summary of the applicant's business history in any jurisdiction including their business license and permit history and whether any business-related license or permit has been denied, suspended or revoked and the reasons therefor.
(9) 
During the term of the license, if there is a change of information that a person provided in an application for a license or license renewal, the person must report the change to the Department within 30 days after the change occurs.
D. 
Each licensee shall display the current County license and any current Maryland Department of Labor and Licensing Regulation (DLLR) license conspicuously in the place of the business of the licensee.
E. 
The pawnbroker license issued under this chapter is not transferable and is valid only for a single business location.
A. 
A pawnbroker must completely and legibly record in the English language every transaction at the time of the receipt, pawn, sale, purchase, barter, pledge, exchange or redemption of any article on forms supplied by or in a electronic data storage media in a format approved by the Harford County Sheriff. A separate entry shall be made for each article involved in the transaction and identified by a unique, legible number. Each entry shall include a statement as to whether the article was in its original box and whether it appears to be new. Each item acquired shall be tagged with a separate transaction number, item description and date of acquisition. The transaction number on the tag must be the same as the transaction report number for the item.
B. 
A pawnbroker must use a uniform bill of sale, ticket or receipt in a format provided by the Sheriff for every transaction.
C. 
A pawnbroker must report to the Sheriff all transactions by transmitting them electronically by noon the next business day following the transaction. A pawnbroker shall also file within 2 business days of the completed transaction with the Sheriff a written copy of each report required by this section and also maintain the original for a minimum of 3 years from the date of the transaction.
D. 
Positive identification shall be required for all transactions. A pawnbroker must obtain from the individual involved in the transaction either a current valid state driver's license or a current valid state identification card. If neither form of identification is available then in substitution thereof 2 current valid forms of identification, one of which must be a government issued identification card, is acceptable. The pawnbroker shall either photograph or scan the identification card(s) and document the name, date of birth, sex, race, distinguishing features, age, height, weight, date of birth, current phone number, and driver's license number on a form provided by the Sheriff. A pawnbroker shall indicate on the form whether the individual making the transaction is personally known. The form shall also be personally signed by the person making the transaction. The pawnbroker or employee involved in the transaction shall also personally sign the form.
E. 
All pawn stores shall be equipped with electronic monitoring/recording equipment that records all public and nonpublic entrances and exits to the building and all transactions being conducted. The equipment shall consist of video or digital imaging of a sufficient resolution and clarity to be easily monitored and reviewed on playback. All stores must keep an archive of video for 60 days which shall be available to the Sheriff upon request.
F. 
A sign of sufficient size informing a customer of the videotaping shall be located in a conspicuous place on the premises.
G. 
A pawnbroker shall not engage in any pawn transaction with either a minor or an individual who is visibly intoxicated or under the influence.
H. 
A record maintained pursuant to this section is not a public record and is not subject to Title 4 of the General Provisions Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
A pawnbroker must provide, at a minimum, the following information and items when submitting the report of pawn transactions required in § 188-4, following these instructions:
A. 
All articles shall be photographed and reported by the manufacturer's name and number, the color and size, serial number, model number, year of manufacture if known, together with any initials, inscriptions or any peculiar distinguishing marks and characteristics.
B. 
Diamonds and other precious stones shall be described by giving the approximate weight of the stone, style of mounting, shape of the stone, whether a woman's or man's ring, the number of stones and any initials, inscriptions, scratch numbers or peculiar distinguishing marks and characteristics.
C. 
Watches shall be designated by the type of metal, manufacturer's name, movement number, case number, type of movement, whether it is a woman's or man's watch, and any initials, inscriptions, scratch numbers or peculiar distinguishing marks and characteristics.
D. 
All jewelry shall be described as to kind, character and whether woman's or man's, number of stones, name of each stone, shape of each stone, and any initials, inscriptions or peculiar distinguishing marks or characteristics.
E. 
Chains shall be designated by kind, character of metal or other material, design of link and whether woman's, man's or child's and, in all cases, any inscriptions, initials or peculiar distinguishing marks or characteristics.
F. 
Silverware shall be designated by kind, character, maker's name and any initials, inscriptions or peculiar distinguishing marks or characteristics and the number of pieces of each type.
G. 
Furs shall be designated by kind, character, whether woman's, man's or child's, color, maker's, owner's or alterer's name, if any is attached, or any initials, inscriptions or peculiar distinguishing marks or characteristics.
H. 
Field, marine and opera glasses, binoculars, etc., shall be designated by full description, maker's or owner's name and all initials, inscriptions or peculiar distinguishing marks or characteristics.
I. 
Instruments, such as surgical, architectural, mathematical, surveying, etc., shall be designated by the kind, character, design, name of maker and any initials, inscriptions or peculiar distinguishing marks or characteristics, whether located upon the case or the instruments.
J. 
Musical instruments shall be designated by type of instrument, name of maker and any initials, inscriptions or peculiar distinguishing marks or characteristics, whether upon the musical instrument or the case.
K. 
Tools shall be designated by the trade in which the same may be used, whether carpenter's, machinist's or otherwise, all numbers, name or number of maker and any initials, inscriptions or peculiar distinguishing marks or characteristics, whether upon the tools or upon the box or case.
L. 
Clothing shall be designated by kind, character, whether woman's, man's or child's, color, size, material, maker's, owner's or alterer's name, if attached, and any initials, inscriptions or peculiar distinguishing marks or characteristics.
A. 
A pawnbroker may not transfer or dispose of any secondhand personal property or other articles and objects for a period of 30 days after the date upon which the pawn transaction was reported to the Sheriff, except that the property may be redeemed or repurchased with the original pawn ticket by the person who pawned the property or by that person's authorized agent.
B. 
All held property must remain in the same form as when received, must not be sold, dismantled or otherwise disposed of, and must be kept separate and apart from all other property during the holding period to prevent theft or accidental sale and to allow for identification and examination by the Sheriff. Held property must be kept at the business location during the holding period.
When a pawnbroker is requested by any law enforcement officer to have an item which is either still within the 30 day hold period required by § 188-6 or otherwise in their possession placed on hold, the pawnbroker shall hold that item for investigative purposes until it is determined by a law enforcement agency that either the item is to be seized or that it is no longer needed for investigative purposes. Law enforcement may seize an item other than a security or printed evidence of indebtedness from a pawnbroker if the item is established to have been stolen; the owner of the item or victim of the theft has positively identified the item; the owner of the item or the agent or designee of the owner has provided an affidavit of ownership; the stolen property report describes the item by: a date, initials, an insurance record, a photograph, a sales receipt, a serial number, specific damage, a statement of the facts that show that the item is one of a kind, or a unique engraving. At the time of seizure, it shall be documented on a form provided by the Sheriff.
Any inquiry regarding an item which either has been requested by the Sheriff or other law enforcement agency to be held for an additional period or has been released as stolen to a law enforcement agency shall be directed to that law enforcement agency for information.
A. 
An automated purchasing machine is prohibited from being used anywhere in the County except for an automated purchasing machine that is used exclusively for collecting recyclable materials in accordance with a recycling program approved by the Maryland Department of the Environment.
B. 
A pawnbroker or their employee is prohibited from purchasing or otherwise transacting in a gift card, store credit/merchandise card, gift certificate, activated phone card or similar items.
C. 
A pawnbroker or their employee is prohibited from purchasing or otherwise transacting in property with serial numbers, personalized inscriptions or initals or other identifying marks that appear to have been intentionally altered or rendered illegible.
A pawnbroker shall be responsible for all transactions conducted by any employee who operates under their pawnbroker license.
An order denying, suspending, or revoking a pawnbroker license may be issued for the following reasons:
A. 
The information provided by the licensee or applicant in the application is incorrect, incomplete, or has not been updated as required by this chapter;
B. 
The licensee or applicant has been convicted of any felony, or any crime of theft, fraud, precious metal and pawnbroker law violations.
C. 
The licensee or applicant's permit or license to act as a pawnbroker in any jurisdiction has been denied, revoked, or suspended;
D. 
A licensee has failed to comply with a notice of violation; or
E. 
The licensee or applicant has violated one or more of the provisions of this chapter.
A violation of this chapter shall be a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $1000 or by imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or both, in the discretion of the court.
If any provision of this chapter or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid for any reason in a court of competent jurisdiction, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or any other application of this chapter which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and for this purpose the provisions of this chapter are declared severable.