MANATEE -- The Manatee County Commission on Tuesday OK'd an amendment adding home appliances to a new ordinance designed to help law enforcement officers more easily track stolen goods.
Jim Minix, representing the county attorney's office, explained the amendment to an ordinance the commission passed in February, which stiffened rules affecting secondhand goods dealers. "This is the sheriff's proposed ordinance; the sheriff did not want that to be deleted, and now, the board has told the county attorney's office to put it back in," Minix told the commission.
The board quickly OK'd the change at the request of builders and Manatee County Sheriff's Office investigators. Commissioners said they had heard from builders that thieves were stealing new home appliances at construction sites or those installed
in newly-built homes. Then they would quickly sell them to a secondhand dealer, and the goods would be gone before authorities could intervene.
"I think that's a good thing," said Alan Anderson, executive vice president of the Manatee-Sarasota Building Industry Association, when told of the commission's action.
The amendment requires that home appliances be kept onsite by the secondhand dealer for a 30-day holding period. Many secondhand goods dealers didn't realize they already were required to hold such items for 15 days, anyway, under the terms of state law, sheriff's detectives have previously told the commission.
Similar regulations affect secondhand dealers of jewelry and electronic devices.
The county's new ordinance also requires such dealers to collect and maintain images of the seller, the seller's ID and of the item sold. "It's not going to kill anybody, I knew they were going to go ahead and do it," said Jimmy Lake, manager at Bill's Discount Center, 1001 Ninth St. W., Bradenton, after the commission meeting. "Everything works out, you do the best you can."
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.