Falls to Crack Down on Pawn Shops, Scrap Yards Selling Stolen Goods
When Falls Supervisors Chairman Jeff Dence heard a commercial advertising that a New Jersey scrap yard accepted catalytic converters, he knew something had to be done in his hometown.
“We do have several scrap yards,” Dence said. “There’s a lot of crime with people stealing catalytic converters.”
The precious metals can be harvested from the automobile part and cashed in for big returns.
Rhodium, platinum, and palladium are the three metals in catalytic converters. Rhodium, which was worth about $650 per ounce in 2016, surged to about $3,000 per ounce by the end of 2019 and is now worth more than $10,000 per ounce, according to Moneymetals.com. Palladium jumped from $500 per ounce in 2016 to more than $2,000 currently, while platinum stayed consistent in value at just over $1,000 per ounce.
In an effort to reduce the number of stolen goods – metals in particular – being resold at salvage yards and pawn shops, the Falls Township Supervisors on Monday introduced an ordinance to amend part of an existing regulation related to pawn brokers and dealers in precious metals and secondhand goods.
“This started a few years ago,” Dence said of regulations in force in Burlington, N.J., which requires “every pawn shop to hold items for several days.”
That way, Dence said, “if your stuff was stolen, you’d have a chance to get it back.”
The ordinance, which will be considered for adoption at a subsequent meeting, updates the definition of a precious metal dealer, according to attorney Lauren Gallagher. In addition, the proposed ordinance expands the definition of precious metal to include various types, including rhodium, ruthenium, as well as alloys.
In other business, the Supervisors are working to simplify the process by which the public and Falls Township staff access township codes. The board on Monday voted unanimously to accept a proposal from General Code to review and update the 1977 code to ensure local legislation is up to date and in line with Pennsylvania statutes. In addition, Falls Township codes can be accessed via a fully searchable online version of the township code on the eCode360 online code portal. Total cost for services is $14,995.