Pennsylvania Officials Want to Include Video Games & Systems in State-Mandated Pawn Shop Reports

Prosecutors and elected officials in Pennsylvania are mulling a change to a 1984 pawn broker law that would require shop owners to report purchases of video games and systems.

As reported by the Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader, the Precious Metals Act was created more than two decades ago to help police track down stolen jewelry. Luzerne County District Attorney Jacqueline Musto Carroll said:

I think it would be a great help to law enforcement to have pawn shop dealers report the video equipment and video games. These systems and games are expensive; they cost an arm and a leg.

State Rep. John Yudichak (D) has introduced legislation adding games and consoles to the precious metals reporting requirements.

By enacting this law, we give police another tool to track whether a stolen item has been pawned, thereby increasing the likelihood of returning the property to its owner and prosecuting responsible parties.

It’s unclear whether the regulations would apply to used game trade-ins at retailers such as GameStop.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    This is a bunch of bull!   The existing laws on jewelry buying/selling don’t work, so how the heck do you expect this to work with games and equipment?  If the pawn shops or "jewelry buyers" aren’t observing the laws what makes you think that enacting laws for game buying/reselling is going to work.  Crooks are crooks and no regulations are going to clean up that dirty industry.  My jewelry was cashed in at a Scranton, Pa. jewelry buyer/seller location, supposedly a very reputable one at that, and I was able to buy back one of my pendants seven days later.  I returned the next day to get back two others along with my previous days purchase price, but the rest of my good stuff was gone, melted, or whatever!  The police are supposedly on it, but not much one can do when the goods are broken down, melted, or disposed of.  So much for enacting laws and regulations!!  I’ll believe it all when I see it work.  Until then, God bless anyone who has their belongings stolen.   Just call me skeptic!

  2. ZealousD ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Sorry, that’s every TRADE IN where that information is required, not purchase.

  3. ZealousD ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I think some pawn shop laws in Oklahoma apply to our game stores too. In Oklahoma, we have to collect the person’s phone number, name, and address for every purchase. Every system trade-in requires a serial number. We even have a law that you can’t give cash out for trade-ins unless you’re 18 or older.

  4. Anonymous ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    They already have a law like that here in Washington (state). Spec. Pierce County (Tacoma area, S. of Seattle). Up until earlier this year, we (@ Gamestop) only had to take down Name, phone #, & address. Now they added height, weight, license type, number, issuer, and exp. date.

    We also have to take down system and acc. serials. Third we have to put everything on a 30-day hold. EVERYTHING!!!! That means all games, even though, as stated above, two copies of Gears, or Mass Effect, etc… look the same (mostly). It used to be just systems on the 30-day hold which made sense, since they were trackable.

     But we are a pawnshop and have to compy to local, state, and nat’l laws.

    This system does work though. I know because the other day, we had the cops and MPs call a store saying somebody on base had been robbed and cashed their stuff at our store. That case is still being handled.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The reporting law isn’t meant so much to track down individual stolen items, but to prevent pawn shops from turning into fences. If they fail to report, then they’re guilty of either tax evasion or money laundering (depending on whether the money’s pocketed or gets moved around on the books). If they do report properly, then the patterns of sales can help in investigation. It’s more about statistics than individual data.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Yes, it would apply to GameStop and company. In California, they’re already required to record any purchases (that is, purchases *they* make, not you).

    I don’t think it’s necessarily about electronics, but actually video games and game systems specifically, because they’re very fungible and have high margins on resale. Basically they’re joining laptops on that list of required reporting items, for states that already expanded it beyond jewelry.

    (My roommate used to run a pawn shop)

  7. Freyar says:

    The registration and reporting of used consoles sales (Gamestop, GameCrazy, or Pawnshop alike) is certainly something that will be good for most parties in the end. The end-user (a process to aid recovery), the shops (to help catch those selling these things under false pretenses), and the police (for the same reason as the shops). The only thing I would not agree with is the inclusion of video games. Sure they do cost an arm and a leg, but it is impossible to track those as they just do not have a unique identification like a console or PC.

    —- There is a limit for both politicians against video games, and video games against politicians.

  8. HalfShadow says:

    Works for me. Some cocksucker cleaned out my house a couple of years back and the pawnshops here wouldn’t bat an eye to help. If anything, they’re even more corrupt than the people who ‘sell’ them stuff.

  9. Jabrwock says:

    While it’s all well and good, they need more cooperation between states (and provinces). I had my bike stolen last month, and while I gave the police the serial #, they admitted that it was likely not going to show up anywhere in this province. It’s just too easy to truck them to Alberta, where they have no knowledge of our registries.

    — If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap…

  10. bpm195 says:

    Personally, I back pretty much any legislation forcing stores that buy/trade used goods to enter any items of a significant value into a database for tracking serial numbers.

    I can’t express in words how pissed I was to watch a pawn shop have a $2000+ racing bike on sale for $200, right off the back of the truck. 

  11. GRIZZAM PRIME says:

    Wow. Good news for once.


    -Entertainment isn’t the reason the world sucks. It’s the reason we know the world sucks. For information on games and psychology, look up: Jonathan Freedman(2002)Block & Crain(2007)Grand Theft Childhood, by Harvard researchers Larry Kutner&Cheryl Olson

  12. Salen says:

    Well, they already so something like this, in Florida, with shops like GameStop and the likes, so this doesn’t suprise me at all.

    I’m not too bent out of shape over this, since it just means there’s a waiting time before the store can purchase it. It’s just how it works here in Florida. Probably doesn’t hurt I don’t buy used video games and consoles either.

  13. Chris Charabaruk says:

    It’s like that here in Ontario for a while, although I don’t know how long. Stores like EB are treated under the law as pawn shops when dealing with trade-in consoles, too. I don’t know if the actual games are protected, but the hardware sure is.

    Chris ‘coldacid’ Charabaruk <>
    IGDA Indie SIG Coordinator, Programmer, Designer

  14. G-Dog says:

    When I worked at Gamestop, I once had a guy try to trade in an N64 with fresh blood splatters on it. The guy himself looked like he was on the loosing end of a fight, and when I said I couldn’t take it, he grabed the console and ran out of the store w/o saying a word.

  15. Krono says:

    I’d call this one a two edged sword personally. While it’d be great to have for game systems, and other electronics, it’d likely be a real annoyance for the games themselves.


  16. Meggie ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Exactly, my apartment was broken into 2 years ago and they only thing they made off with were systems and quarters (my guess is crackhead). It’s a very easy item to steal and it yields a decent payoff. Perhaps this law will help cut down on console theft, even if just slightly.

  17. Mr. Danforth says:

    This would be great. My friend just got robbed a few weeks ago and i told him to check pawn shops. They took his PS3, Wii and laptop. This law definately would have helped him.

  18. Chuma ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I believe states have attempted to apply this sort of law to games shops before but it is over-reaching the laws set out at governmental level.  Actually I recall this being on a gameshop related internet site *goes to find*.  Anyhow, they could only apply this to Pawn Brokers.

    Enjoy 🙂

  19. HelplessDoom ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Sounds sweet. I know a few people who have had their electronics stolen. Its a bitch with HDTVs and consoles, surroundsound. Its no fun when the stuff taken is worth thousands and there is no way to track it. Catch the perps!

    I did love that story a while back about the kid who had his xbox 360 stolen and the robber was bullied to giving it back. Ha Ha the poor bastard!

  20. Twin-Skies ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    lemme guess – they probably caught wind of the stolen Xbox 360 incident from a couple of months ago, where Xbox Live’s members literally bullied the thief to return the console.

  21. kurisu7885 (can't log in) says:

    This certainyl does seem like a good idea, adding electronics to this law. It may not becoem a solid quarantee that an item will get returned, but it will help.

  22. Luke says:

    This makes a lot of sense for systems, but it’s utterly pointless and would be a pain in the ass for games.  I say pointless because where’s the serial number for a game?  They don’t have them, and a serial number is the thing that could get the police to have the pawnshop hand over your item.  Yeah, your copy of Halo 3 might have a tear in the bottom-right corner of the clear plastic on the case, BUT that’s not going to hold up in court and get you your game back…a serial number will.

    Long story short, write down the serial numbers for all your electronics so the police can track them.

  23. Dan J ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    "It’s unclear whether the regulations would apply to used game trade-ins at retailers such as GameStop."

    Hah!!  If it looks like a duck and sounds like a duck… Gamestop used to be a games store. "Pawn Shop" is a hell of a lot more accurate today.

    On a more productive note, I’m mildly amazed to hear of gaming-related legislation that might be GOOD news.

  24. the1jeffy says:

    This is LONG overdue.  And they need to enforce a 30 days wait period on consoles for GameStop, too.

    ~~All Knowledge is Worth Having~~

  25. Anonymous says:

    they already apply this pawn law in arizona. i have to fill out paperwork for it every time i trade in a game.

  26. NovaKitFox says:

    Well here in MN there is already somthing like that in some area’s.  We have whats called an APS (autmated pawn system) at the store i work at   where when ever we do a trade   the police the data that night of the trades for that day.  if we mess up  (like miss type the license number)  we (as in the employee who did the trade) face a 500 fine and the company could face loosing it’s pawn lisence in the area if the issue isn’t fixed soon. and there are 3 stores that would be affect by that.  hell there was a mom and pop game store in the mall that used to take trade till the cops came up and said "hey are you on our APS system?" ….. now they don’t trade lol.  but yeah. some customes like it but at times it sucks. cause it limits what ID’s we can use for a legal trade. which is limited to DL and ID’s issues by a STATE in the USA only,  Have had alot of customers get mad over that. then again i had one freak out over asking for his phone number




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