Calls to regulate Vermont resale stores - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Calls to regulate Vermont resale stores

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RUTLAND, Vt. -

"I've turned down many deals that I just didn't have a good feel for," Tim Puro said.

Puro says his family has been dealing coins and precious metals for more than 30 years. Once his father's store, Tim now runs Puro's Coins and Jewelry in Rutland City. He says to keep stolen items out of the store they have relied on common sense, and a set of regulations his family made.

"We require ID. We only pay by check and we take photos of everything we purchase. So, that keeps a lot of the bad element out of our store," Puro said.

But keeping stolen goods out consignment shops isn't everyone's priority. And the owner of Sweet Revival now faces felony charges for allegedly selling stolen goods.

"In this particular case, the property was brought in and dismantled right away. The rules weren't followed, so that was one of the first indicators that we knew something was up there," Rutland City Police Sgt. Matthew Prouty said.

Police say in July, a crook stole $30,000 worth of jewelry and electronics from a home on Upland Drive. Police say the thief took the loot to Jon Bilodeau's store to make some quick cash. Court papers show Bilodeau paid the suspect $2,000 and didn't even ask where the goods came from.

"I mean, we are talking about people losing family heirlooms, wedding rings, things of that nature, things that have been in the family for generations-- that in a moment could be put in the smelter and be melted down just so somebody can get a fraction of its value to get heroin on the street," Prouty said.

Prouty says it is extremely difficult to regulate these shops and a lot of the business conduct comes down to ethics. But police say many store owners are turning a blind eye.

"I would love to see it regulated more," Puro said, "where people are required to get a license, to use a registered scale, to only pay by check. A 10-day hold period is reasonable for me."

Puro says there was a bill introduced last year to help cut down on illegal activity. But the problem was, Puro says, the proposed rules were too strict.

"Rather than come to a reputable store, the reputable stores are just going to stop doing business and then it's all going to be backdoor cash deals, and it would make it even harder for people to track it down," Puro said.

Puro says he hopes a more reasonable bill can be reintroduced this year. As for the store owner, he pleaded not guilty to both felony charges. If convicted, he could face up to 15 years behind bars.

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