Newark council approves pawn shop law to curb cell phone thefts

By Naomi Nix | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on December 18, 2014

NEWARK — The Newark city council unanimously approved Wednesday night legislation that requires second-hand dealers to maintain records of every phone it buys including the phone's model number and serial number.

Under the legislation, cell phone sellers have to give Newark dealers two pieces of identification, including a photo identification.

Police officers could request to see the information at any time.

North Ward councilman Anibal Ramos, who proposed the initiative, said the high-tech devices have fueled a lucrative business in Newark for thieves.

“It's like walking around with 100 (or) 150 dollar bill in your hands,” he said. “This creates a process which mandates that there is a registration system.”

The legislation also prohibits dealers from buying phones with altered serial numbers.

Businesses that violate the law could could face a fine between $100 to $500 and even imprisonment for up to 60 days.

Ramos said he is looking into giving copies of the legislation to the Essex County police chief association to share with other municipalities.

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