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December 9, 2011

Danvers selectmen suspend license of pawn-shop kiosk

DANVERS — The shutters to the Spindle City Precious Metals pawn-shop kiosk at the Liberty Tree Mall were padlocked shut yesterday afternoon.

Selectmen suspended the store's license to sell secondhand items and ordered it closed through February after police found evidence of shoddy record keeping, something that the police chief said would make it easy for someone to fence stolen loot at the store.

Police found the kiosk had failed to use an electronic spreadsheet furnished to them months ago by police to transmit sales. Detectives also said they found a suspicious pattern in the records where older people's sales were being documented correctly, but those involving young people were not.

That includes police looking into the sale by a 29-year-old Tewksbury man of four pieces of sterling-silver flatware and a pendant, police Chief Neil Ouellette said in his report to selectmen on Tuesday. Police thought the sale suspicious, because not many 29-year-olds own sterling-silver flatware, Ouellette said. The kiosk did not have an image of the items.

"I certainly suggest that the license of this location be suspended for some period of time," Ouellette said. "It's very clear that a lot of the transactions are not being documented, and basically they are using this as a conduit for the transfer of stolen property.

"I'm appalled that it's existing in Danvers, and I'm not going to stand for this as a selectman," Selectman Bill Clark said.

Ouellette said the very nature of a kiosk location prohibits the store from keeping precious metals and other items at the store for two weeks. It also hinders the ability to keep records for one year, as required by the town.

"To my knowledge, there was a problem with the former manager of the location. He hadn't been reporting the incoming goods with the frequency that is lined out in (the) Danvers bylaw," said Brian Corley, the licensing director of the Fall River chain, who said the former manager no longer works for the company, which has 13 stores in the Bay State and Rhode Island.

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