Lanesborough Selectmen Shut Down Mall Pawn Shop
|Officer Timothy Sorrell said the company had documentation on other items purchased but not the ones that were allegedly stolen.|
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen is shutting down a pawn shop at the Berkshire Mall.
The Selectmen revoked the licenses for the Gold Deposit, a booth at the mall that buys jewelry, for violating bylaws requiring the business to document all items.
Police Officer Timothy Sorrell told the Selectmen on Monday that the business had withheld documentation for two purchases of property reported stolen.
Sorrell said an investigation of a house break-in revealed that items taken from a home were sold to the Gold Deposit.
However, police were unable to obtain the required sales documentation or the items despite repeated attempts.
The town bylaw requires significant documentation and that the items remain on site for at least five days before being sold as scrap.
"It appears that they are holding out on us and that's frustrating," Sorrell said. "We weren't getting the slips we were looking for."
The items had been moved off site, Sorrell said, and during multiple visits asking for them and the paperwork, employees said the items had never been purchased by Gold Deposit. The company produced documentation of other items purchased, but not the stolen goods.
Eventually, the jewelry and the paperwork were submitted after a member of the victim's family tried to recover the stolen goods. The owner, Bahodur Akbarov, then turned the paperwork and items over to police, claiming he had left them at home.
Sorrell said this isn't the only time that the company has violated the order. Police have issued three citations — at a cost of $300 each — but two were forgiven after the company filed the proper paperwork.
"I have worked with them before and they've been issued citations before," he said. "I voided out two tickets prior."
Akbarov said the company had made a mistake and asked the Selectmen for another chance. Azim Azizov, an employee involved in the incidents, added that the company has had a long history of cooperation with police including calling authorities when the victim's family tried to recover the items.
"We are always cooperative. Five or six times a year, we buy stolen stuff and submit the slips to the police," he said. "This is the only time we've made a mistake. It's a huge mistake, we understand that."
The Selectmen, however, agreed with police that the license should be at least suspended. The board unanimously agreed to to revoke the Gold Deposit's license, for which it cannot reapply for another year.
"These are items people can't replace and if they are taken to a smelter, they are gone," Chairman John Goerlach said, emphasizing the magnitude of the violation.
Despite losing a business, Berkshire Mall General Manager Joseph Scelsi didn't oppose the decision saying, "they need to own up and play by the rules."
According to the police report, both Azizov and Akbarov could face charges of hindering a police investigation based on "their attempts to hide evidence and records."
Tags: bylaws, license suspension, pawn shops,