Local News

Fayetteville Proposes Ordinance To Keep Stolen Items Out of Flea Markets

Posted January 21, 2001

— Many people head to flea markets in search of bargains, but some Fayetteville leaders say shoppers could get more than they bargain for.

In an effort to stop people from selling stolen goods, a proposed city ordinance would require second-hand merchants to keep detailed records.

Merchants would need to list anything they buy at their booth for more than $15 or sell for more than $30. They would also have to get information about the seller and hold the item for two days before selling it.

For the last year, Jose Cardona has operated a booth at the Bragg Boulevard Flea Market. He and other merchants are concerned about their future.

"It's not our job. It should be the job of the police force," Cardona says.

Council member Nat Robertson proposed the second-hand sales ordinance. Police do not think it is such a bad idea.

"When we suspect an individual of stolen property, if there is a written record that someone has sold it to a second-hand dealer, we go to the dealer and get the name of an individual," says Capt. Robert Fisher of the Fayetteville Police Department.

Many dealers think the ordinance is really intended to drive them out of business. They believe they pose too much competition to retail businesses.

Ted Tilson, state president of theNational Flea Market Association, says the ordinance would require too much paperwork.

"We have a lady who's 70 years old. It's impossible for her to keep up with what she has, let alone take on another burden," he says.

Tilson says most markets monitor themselves and could do that even more if police could fax them weekly with a list of serial numbers from stolen goods. However, police say with more than 100 second-hand stores, that could be too much paperwork.

The city council is expected to take up the ordinance at Monday's meeting. The National Flea Market Association is asking that the issue to be postponed until they can have a representative come and participate in the talks.


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