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City of Bolivar Hopes Online Database Will Help Fight Crime

BOLIVAR, Mo. -- Bolivar city leaders hope an online database will help curb crime and keep criminals from selling stolen goods.
BOLIVAR, Mo. --  Bolivar city leaders hope an online database will help curb crime and keep criminals from selling stolen goods.

A proposed ordinance would require some second-hand stores and pawn shops to put items of value into a national online database.

Leads Online is an online database that keeps track of items nationwide.

The City of Bolivar already pays for access to the database-- but currently uses it on a limited scale and wants to broaden use to help curb crime within the city.

"We register everything," says Gold Diggers Pawn General Manager Chelsie Brown.  "Everything that comes in, we get the serial number, make, model, manufacturer and we get the person's identification."

Brown says they've always used the online database, "Leads Online," to keep track of items.

"Firearms, any gold, any TVs, DVD players, anything that can be stolen," says Brown.  "We do it on everything."

To her, not using Leads Online is risky.

"We've had quite a few things come in that have been stolen," says Brown.  "And they always get back to the original owners."

Brown says the program is easy to use and thinks other stores should use it, too.

"Because it will cut down on where thieves can take merchandise," she says.

State law already requires pawn shops and some second hand shops to document receipts and certain information-- but this ordinance would require that information to be put online.

While some store owners argue it would be a burden to keep track and enter all the information, the city disagrees.

"I can't imagine that this is going to be too detrimental in any real tangible way for those who conduct business in our city," says Bolivar City Administrator Darin Chappell.

Items would include things like antique coins, high-end electronics, weapons-- and other things easily transportable and easily stolen.

"If they're required in Bolivar to at least log those things that come in here-- that's one step closer that we are getting to try and curb that illegal activity," says Chappell.

The city hopes Leads Online will help lead police in the right direction to stop these criminals in their tracks.

"This isn't about us trying to make it more difficult on the law abiding," says Chappell.  We are trying to protect the law abiding."

A town hall meeting will be scheduled for shop owners to ask questions and give input.  The Board of Alderman will make a final decision regarding the issue.
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