Ephrata strengthens rules on businesses buying gold
BY LARRY ALEXANDER, Staff Writer
Ephrata Borough has just become a harder place to pawn stolen jewelry.
On Monday, borough council voted to strengthen its ordinance pertaining to businesses purchasing gold items for resale.
Under the new rules, pawn shops, junk dealers, antiques and second-hand stores that purchase gold items must submit to police detailed photographs of each piece.
During last week's work session when the amendment was discussed, police Chief William Harvey told council that Ephrata was becoming "a mecca" for those looking to sell gold. The amendment makes it easier and faster for police to detect stolen items.
Failure to comply with the new law will result in a fine of $600, and every day the infraction continues would be considered a separate violation.
At present, dealers submit weekly reports on items they purchase for resale, Harvey said.
Photographs may be taken to the police station or sent electronically.
Council also amended an ordinance that halts the police department's practice of impounding skateboards, bicycles or other human-powered vehicles being used in prohibited areas, such as on downtown sidewalks.
Harvey said the original ordinance, passed in 1996, called for officers to impound such vehicles for up to 15 days.
He called impounding skateboards and so forth without any warrants, a "due process issue," which goes against the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The new law imposes a fine of between $100 and $1,000, with possible imprisonment of up to 30 days.
At Monday's meeting, council also approved two contracts involving the borough's portion of the yet-to-be built Warwick-to-Ephrata rail trail.
One contract for $4,150, was awarded to Advantage Engineers of Mechanicsburg to study the soil along the trail where a retaining wall is being planned. The second contract for $9,400, went to ELA Group from Lititz, to design, survey and build the wall.
"Along the rail trail, there are certain sections where the elevation on one side of the trail is different than it is on the other side," borough manager Bob Thompson said. "It's cross-sloped. And if you have 2 feet or more difference, you need to put in a retaining wall. But first, you have to make sure the soil the wall will sit on is suitable."
Council, on Monday, also gave approval to a request by the Make-A-Wish Foundation to run the 24th annual Mother's Day Truck Convoy through the borough on May 12.
Council also approved the annual Firecracker Run set for July 4.
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nDetailed photographs of each purchase must be submitted to police.