The General Assembly today approved legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Erik Peterson creating a task force to help law enforcement crack down on criminals and return stolen jewelry and other valuables to the rightful owners. The secondhand valuables transaction reporting task force established by the bill (A2224), the will make recommendations regarding an industry-wide program to be utilized by retail businesses and police departments to monitor and prevent the sale of stolen goods.
“Common criminals have been striking gold, as a matter of speaking, stealing valuable coins and jewelry from homes and selling them to jewelers who have the precious items melted down, destroying evidence and family treasures,” said Peterson (R—Hunterdon). “When its recommendations are completed, the task force will provide a more effective means of tracking the sales of potentially stolen items. Often, the stolen goods have more sentimental value than monetary worth, and the goal is to prevent the destruction of the items and get them back to the owners.”
The 11-member task force will include designees from the Attorney General’s office and the superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, three county prosecutors, three municipal law enforcement officers, and three public members. The bill directs the task force to issue a report of its findings within six months of the initial meeting.
“We want to stop the burglars from turning great grandmom’s wedding ring into a gold tooth,” said Peterson. “Using technology and establishing an interactive network between law enforcement and secondhand jewelers and pawn brokers, one-of-a-kind pieces and family heirlooms can be identified and saved for future generations to enjoy. This is going to take some of the profit out of breaking-and-entering.”