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July 11, 2018

Metal dealers face charges following yearlong joint investigation

 
STATE OF VERMONT
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
VERMONT STATE POLICE
 
Metal dealers face charges following yearlong joint investigation
 
Following numerous burglary complaints in summer 2017, the Vermont State Police and the Northfield Police Department began investigating multiple precious metal dealers in the area for a number of possible criminal violations. The investigation revealed that numerous stolen items from burglaries throughout Washington and Chittenden counties were being sold at local businesses. The investigation revealed that multiple businesses were purchasing precious metal, some of which was later determined to be stolen, and failing to properly document these transactions and/or failing to register with the Department of Public Safety as precious-metals dealers as required under Vermont law. 
The businesses include Country Thrift Store and More in Barre, Green Mountain Coin and Estate Jewelry in Waterbury, and Vermont Coin and Jewelry in South Burlington. All precious metal dealers in Vermont are required to register with the Department of Public Safety, and to obtain and provide specific information from each purchase, such as a description of items and identification of sellers, to provide a reasonable amount of time for law enforcement to identify potential stolen property. This information can be crucial to criminal investigations, particularly as it relates to property crime. 
This investigation has shown that businesses that purchase precious metal, including jewelry and coins, often are frequented by offenders as a place to sell stolen property. These profits are then used to facilitate a drug habit. This investigation revealed that the following individuals and businesses violated a number of criminal statutes, as specified at the end of this release.
All the individuals have been cited to appear in court later this month to answer the following allegations:
 
ACCUSED: James Barrows Jr. (Country Thrift Store and More)
AGE: 29
CITY, STATE OF RESIDENCE: Barre Town
VIOLATION:  Certification Required (Title 9 VSA 3882), Records of a Precious Metal Dealer (Title 9 VSA 3885), Method of Payment (Title 9 VSA 3888), Conspiracy (Title 13 VSA 1404), False Information to Police (Title 13 VSA 1754), and Possession of Stolen Property (Title 13 VSA 2561).
COURT ACTION: YES
COURT DATE/TIME: 07/19/2018           
COURT: Washington
 
ACCUSED: James Barrows Sr. (Country Thrift Store and More)
AGE: 59
CITY, STATE OF RESIDENCE: Barre Town
VIOLATION:  Records of a Precious Metal Dealer (Title 9 VSA 3885) and Possession of Stolen Property (Title 13 VSA 2561).
COURT ACTION: YES
COURT DATE/TIME: 07/19/2018           
COURT: Washington
 
ACCUSED: John Kirby (Green Mountain Coin and Estate Jewelry)
AGE: 44
CITY, STATE OF RESIDENCE: Burlington
Violation: Certification Required (Title 9 VSA 3882), Records of a Precious Metal Dealer (Title 9 VSA 3885).
COURT ACTION: YES
COURT DATE/TIME: 07/19/2018           
COURT: Washington
 
ACCUSED: Stephen Edwards (Vermont Coin and Jewelry)
AGE: 70
CITY, STATE OF RESIDENCE: South Burlington
Violation: Records of a Precious Metal Dealer (Title 9 VSA 3885)
COURT ACTION: YES
COURT DATE/TIME: 07/24/2018           
COURT: Chittenden
 
The statutes in question are:
Title 9 VSA 3882. Certification required
(a)   Certification from the Department of Public Safety is required to conduct business as a precious metal dealer in this State.
 
Title 9 VSA 3885. Records of a precious metal dealer
(a) For each item of precious metal sold to a precious metal dealer, he or she shall:
(1) assign a distinct entry number or, in the case of a lot of items, an entry number for the lot and a sub-lot number for each unmatched item in the lot;
(2) Maintain the following records for each item or lot of items:
(A) The amount of money paid and the date and time of the transaction;
(B) The name, current address, and telephone number of the seller;
(C) a legible description written on the day of the transaction that includes for each item any distinguishing mark and name of any kind, such as brand and model name, model and serial number, engraving, etching, affiliation with any institution or organization, date, initials, color, vintage, or image represented;
(D) A digital photograph or video, taken at the time of the transaction, that references the entry number required under subdivision (a)(1) of this section and the date of the transaction;
(E)(i) A government-issued identification card issued to the seller that bears his or her photograph; or
(ii) A government-issued identification card and a digital photograph of the seller's face; and
(F) Documentation of lawful ownership, including a bill of sale, receipt, letter of authorization, or similar evidence, provided that if these forms of documentation are unavailable, the seller shall submit an affidavit of ownership.
(b) A precious metal dealer who sells $50,000.00 or more of precious metal in a consecutive 12-month period shall maintain the records required in this section in a computerized format that can be readily accessed, electronically transmitted, and reproduced in physical form.
(c)(1) A precious metal dealer shall retain the records required in this section for at least three years at his or her normal place of business or other readily accessible and secure location.
(2) At all reasonable times, the records required under this section shall be open to the inspection of law enforcement.
 
Title 9 VSA 3888. Method of payment
In each transaction of $25.00 or more, a precious metal dealer shall pay only by check, draft, or money order for precious metal purchased for the purpose of resale.
 
Title 13 VSA 1404. Conspiracy
(a) A person is guilty of conspiracy if, with the purpose that an offense listed in subsection (c) of this section be committed, that person agrees with one or more persons to commit or cause the commission of that offense, and at least two of the co-conspirators are persons who are neither law enforcement officials acting in official capacity nor persons acting in cooperation with a law enforcement official.
 
Title 13 VSA 1754. False reports to law enforcement authorities
(a) A person who knowingly gives false information to any law enforcement officer with purpose to implicate another or to deflect an investigation from the person or another person shall be imprisoned for not more than one year or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both.
 
Title 13 VSA 2561. Penalty for receiving stolen property; venue
(a) A person who is a dealer in property who buys, receives, sells, possesses unless with the intent to restore to the owner, or aids in the concealment of property, knowing or believing the property to be stolen shall be punished the same as for the stealing of such property.
 
 For more information, please contact the Washington County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Vermont Attorney General’s Office.
 
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