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Danvers police chief: Gold Buyers bookkeeping practices "troubling at best"

Posted by Ryan Mooney  September 26, 2012 01:49 PM

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A second-hand gold and jewelry dealer in Danvers is in hot water after police say they discovered numerous violations of the town's by-laws that govern such establishments.

Police Chief Neil Ouellette appeared before the Danvers Board of Selectmen this week to outline violations by Gold Buyers of America at the Liberty Tree Mall stemming from alleged shoddy bookkeeping that was discovered by detective Robert Sullivan while aiding in the investigation of a burglary in Peabody.

Oullette detailed six occasions over a one-month period, between May 29 and June 29, in which the store purchased items from sellers who provided invalid identification at the time of the transaction, including expired or foreign licenses, and on one occasion a Costco membership card.

Ouellette called the findings "troubling at best."

Chapter 10, section 3 of the town's by-laws states that a "valid Massachusetts driver's license, Massachusetts state ID card, military ID card, United States passport or valid driver's license of another state shall be required from each person when a purchase is made."

The store is also required to make a copy of each ID, but in all of these cases the image was either not captured or was of such poor quality it was useless to detectives, Ouellette said.

Although not specifically outlined in Chapter 10, Ouellette said that second-hand dealers are also asked to submit a weekly spreadsheet to police detailing all transactions, but a number of transactions found in the store's records were not reported to police.

"The troubling part in my view is the fact that those cases that had a non-authorized identification weren't forwarded to the police department," Ouellette said. "So it seems to me this is a bigger problem than just making a mistake and taking the wrong ID."

 The current manager of Gold Buyers was not with the store when the transactions in question took place, and would not comment when reached by phone.

According to Ouellette, detectives were unable to trace any of the stolen property from the Peabody burglary to Gold Buyers, but some property was recovered from Blue River and Danvers Coin, two other Chapter 10 establishments in town.

"They were able to recover some property from those two locations because in this instance they did what was expected of them," Ouellette said.

He also noted that none of the violations at Gold Buyers involved property that was reported stolen in the Peabody case. 

Ryan Mooney can be reached at globe.mooney@yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter @mooney_ryan.

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