Cheers to Manatee County's tough ordinance on stolen property

March 1, 2014 

Burglars and thieves, beware. Manatee County strengthened regulations governing dealers in second-hand goods this week.

In approving Sheriff Brad Steube's initiative, commissioners provided law enforcement with far superior tools for the recovery of stolen property and the prosecution of criminals.

The new ordinance requires secondhand businesses to shoot images of both the seller, the person's ID card and the goods instead of merely writing general descriptions.

This applies to jewelry and electronic devices only, though appliances should join this list and that is under consideration.

Digital images must be posted on a searchable Internet site along with serial numbers when stamped on a product. This allows property owners to look for their stolen goods.

Plus, dealers must hold goods twice as long as before -- 30 days, which gives victims far more time to recover their property since oftentimes the loss is not noticed immediately.

Other provisions bolster law enforcement's crime-fighting ability.

As we opined in January, regional unity on these tougher requirements would be a more effective strategy in solving and prosecuting property crimes. Manatee's new ordinance aligns well with Sarasota County's, and should stop the flow of stolen property from there into our county. Other Southwest Florida counties should follow suit.

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