[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Little Egg Harbor 12-11-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-22. Amendments noted where applicable.]
No person shall use, exercise, or carry on the business, trade, or occupation of the buying, selling, or pawning of scrap metal without complying with the requirements of this chapter in the exact manner described herein.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ACCEPTABLE IDENTIFICATION
- A current valid New Jersey driver's license or identification card, a current valid photo driver's license issued by another U.S. state, a valid United States passport, or other verifiable U.S. government-issued identification, which will be recorded on the receipt retained by the dealer and subsequently forwarded to the local Police Department on request.
- Any person, partnership, limited liability company, corporation, or other entity who, either wholly or in part, engages in or operates a scrap metal business involving the buying and/or selling of scrap metal as defined herein, including itinerant businesses, and transient buyers as defined herein.
- ITINERANT BUSINESS
- Any scrap metal dealer who conducts business intermittently within the Township or at varying locations.
- Individuals and retail sellers, not to include wholesale transactions or transactions between other merchants.
- REPORTABLE TRANSACTION
- Every transaction conducted between a dealer and a member of the public in which scrap metal is purchased or pawned.
- SCRAP METAL
- Used, discarded, or previously owned items that consist predominantly of ferrous metals, aluminum, brass, copper, lead, chromium, tin, nickel, or alloys.
- SCRAP METAL BUSINESS
- A commercial establishment which, as one of its principal business purposes, advertises for the purchase of or purchases scrap metal for purposes of resale or processing, including transient buyers of scrap metal and itinerant businesses, as defined herein.
- A member of the public who sells scrap metal to a dealer.
- TRANSIENT BUYER
- An operator of a scrap metal business, as defined herein, who has not been in the scrap metal business continuously for at least six months at any address in the Township where the dealer is required to register or who intends to close out or discontinue the scrap metal business within six months.
No person, partnership, limited liability company, corporation, or other entity shall engage in a scrap metal business within the Township of Little Egg Harbor without having first obtained a license therefor from the Municipal Clerk, which license shall bear a number issued by the Municipal Clerk.
The application for a license to the Municipal Clerk shall set forth the name, date of birth, and address of the dealer, whether or not he or she is a citizen of the United States, and whether or not he or she has ever been convicted of any crime(s), disorderly persons offense(s), or municipal ordinance violation(s), and the date(s) thereof.
No person, partnership, limited liability company, corporation or other entity shall place or cause to be placed any advertisement for purchase of such articles or goods without stating in the advertising the license number issued to a person or entity by the Township. In any print advertisement, the license number shall appear in type no smaller than eight point in the lower right-hand corner of the advertisement. In any advertisement in electronic media, the license number shall be visually or audibly stated. Failure to state or indicate the license number shall be a violation of this chapter and shall be subject to the penalties established in § 319-9.
Licenses granted under this chapter are not transferable or assignable.
Applications for licensure under this chapter shall be referred by the Clerk to the Chief of Police, who shall make an investigation of the prospective licensee, for the purpose of determining the suitability of the applicant for licensing. The investigation shall include, but shall not be limited to, the following:
The experience of the applicant in the business of purchase and sale of scrap metal, although nothing in this section shall be construed to warrant denial of a license solely on the basis of lack of experience;
The reputation of the applicant for fair dealing in the community, which shall be made among credible sources, which sources shall be disclosed to the applicant in the event of a denial of any license;
Any criminal record of the applicant, including any past convictions for any crime(s), disorderly persons offense(s), or municipal ordinance violation(s) within this or any other jurisdiction. The Chief of Police may, as part of the application process, require a fingerprint criminal background check through the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Criminal Justice Information Services Division, which may require an additional fee from the applicant.
The type of operation contemplated to be conducted by the applicant, particularly whether the business is to be operated from a fixed location, whether it is to be conducted from a location primarily devoted to the purchase and sale of scrap metal, and other factors bearing on whether the licensed business will be of a fixed and permanent nature. This section shall not be construed to require denial of any license solely on the grounds that the business is not from a fixed location or that the applicant is a transient buyer or itinerant business; however, applicants who fall under the category of a transient buyer or itinerant business must state with specificity on the license application the business address where transaction records required by § 319-6D of this chapter will be stored as well as the location where scrap metal goods will be retained during the mandatory inspection period required under § 319-6A.
The Chief of Police shall complete any investigation pursuant to this chapter within 30 days of the submission of the completed application to the Municipal Clerk. If a criminal record check has been requested within the thirty-day period and has not been received by the Chief of Police within that period, the Chief of Police may, if all other factors are satisfactory, recommend a conditional issuance of the license subject to the finding regarding a criminal record.
The Chief of Police shall, upon completion of the investigation, recommend grant or denial of the license to the Municipal Clerk, who shall grant or deny the license. Any recommendation of the Chief of Police shall be in writing and, in the case of a recommendation of denial, shall state fully and specifically the reasons for said recommendation. The Municipal Clerk shall notify the applicant in writing within 10 days of a denial, and the Clerk shall forward to the applicant a statement of the reason or reasons for such denial.
Grounds for recommending denial of license may include reliable information indicating that the applicant has in the past engaged in fraudulent or deceptive business practices in a business identical to or similar to a scrap metal business. A license may be denied if the investigation reveals a conviction of the applicant or any of its principal officers or employees of any crime(s), disorderly persons offense(s) in which deceit or misrepresentation is an element; or any conviction of any crime(s), disorderly persons offense(s) involving theft or the receiving of stolen goods, regardless of whether the applicant was a principal, accessory before the fact, after the fact, or a co-conspirator; or any prior municipal ordinance violation(s) by the applicant or any of its principal officers or employees in this or any other jurisdiction. A license may be denied if the applicant fails to demonstrate an ability to satisfactorily comply with the electronic reporting requirements specified in § 319-5, the retention and inspection requirements of § 319-6, or any other portion of this chapter. Upon receipt of the recommendation of the Chief of Police, the Municipal Clerk shall issue or deny the license accordingly, contingent upon the receipt of a bond as required by § 319-7 of this chapter.
Whenever any application for a permit is denied, the applicant shall be entitled to a hearing before the Township Committee, at which time the applicant shall be permitted to introduce such evidence as may be deemed relevant to such denial. Any applicant exercising the right to appeal must file a written notice of appeal within 10 days of receiving written notice of denial of a license to act as a scrap metal business.
For every reportable transaction between a dealer and the public, the dealer shall be required to do as follows:
Require acceptable identification from each person selling scrap metal.
Require each seller to execute a declaration of ownership, which shall contain the following certification: "My signature confirms that I am the sole legal owner of and am legally authorized to sell the goods being sold. By signing below I certify that I did not obtain and do not possess the identified goods through unlawful means. I am the full age of 18 years and the identification presented is valid and correct."
Record and issue to each person selling or pawning such goods on a sequentially numbered receipt:
The name, address, and telephone number of the purchaser, including the clerk or employee of the licensee making the purchase;
The name, address, date of birth, and telephone number of the seller or sellers;
A photographed recording of the seller in a format acceptable to the Chief of Police, along with a physical description of the seller, including height and weight (approximate), hair color, eye color, facial hair, if any, etc.;
A photographed recording of the seller's presented acceptable identification, in a format acceptable by the Chief of Police;
A photographed recording of all items sold in a format acceptable by the Chief of Police.
The receipt number;
A detailed, legible description of the item(s) purchased, including but not limited to the manufacturer, type, amount, form, model, any identifying marks, numbers, dates, sizes, shapes, initials, monograms and serial numbers;
The price paid for the item(s);
The make, model and license plate of the motor vehicle delivering the scrap metal;
The time and date of the transaction.
The information outlined in Subsection C above must additionally be electronically documented through the use of an electronic database system authorized by the Chief of Police. Installation and training in this software will be made mandatory as of the effective date of this chapter, and licensing will be conditional upon compliance with proper use of the system as described herein. These records shall be subject to the inspection of any authorized police officer or any sworn law enforcement officer acting in the performance of his or her duty as set forth in Subsection F below. Through the use of applicably required computer equipment, and using the electronic format approved by the Chief of Police, every dealer shall enter all reportable transactions into the electronic database by the end of the close of business on the same date as the purchase. The information entered must contain all pertinent information outlined in Subsection C above.
In the event of a database failure, or a dealer's computer equipment malfunction, all transaction information is required to be submitted on paper forms approved by the Chief of Police within 24 hours from the date of purchase. In the event that paper forms are used, the dealer is responsible to enter all transaction information set forth in Subsection C above into the database as soon as possible upon the dealer's equipment being repaired or replaced, or the database coming back into service. Failure by the dealer to properly maintain computer equipment in a reasonable fashion, or failure by the dealer to replace faulty computer equipment, may result in the dealer being cited for a violation of this chapter and subsequently being subject to the penalties for doing so, including revocation of the dealer's license as described in § 319-6.
It shall be the requisite duty of every dealer, and of every person in the dealer's employ, to admit to the premises during business hours any member of the Police Department to examine any database, book, ledger, or any other record on the premises relating to the reportable transactions of scrap metal, as well as the articles purchased or received and, where necessary, relinquish custody of those articles as provided in § 319-6. Itinerant businesses and transient buyers will be responsible for notifying the Chief of Police of the address where these records and articles will be stored.
For all reportable transactions between a dealer and a member of the public, the dealer may only accept delivery of scrap metal for purchase by motor vehicle, and the license plate of the motor vehicle must be recorded as provided in Subsection C above.
No scrap metal business shall purchase the following, except as provided in Subsection I below:
Any metal marked with identification of a telephone, cable, electric, water, other public utility, or other government entity;
Any utility access or water meter cover;
Any streetlight pole or fixture;
Any road or bridge guard rail;
Any highway or street sign, traffic directional or control sign, or light signal;
Any metal beer keg that is clearly marked as being the property of the beer manufacturer;
Any historical marker, grave marker, or burial vase;
Any central air conditioner evaporator coils or condensers or catalytic converters that are not attached to a vehicle; or
Any metal bleachers or benches.
The provisions of Subsection H shall not apply to purchases of scrap metal from entities that manage such metal in the ordinary course of business. These entities include manufacturing, industrial, government, contractor, individual or other commercial vendors or scrap metal businesses that generate, purchase or process scrap metal in the ordinary course of business.
All scrap metal purchased or received by a dealer in a reportable transaction is to be made available for inspection by the Chief of Police or designee thereof at the designated business address for a period of at least seven calendar days from the date the transaction information is actually reported to the Chief of Police. All scrap metal subject to inspection must remain in the same condition as when purchased or received for pawn and shall not be sold, disposed of, changed, modified, or melted by the dealer until the seven-day retention period has expired. Itinerant businesses and transient buyers will be responsible for notifying the Chief of Police of the location where the purchased item(s) are being held.
Upon probable cause that goods held by a dealer are stolen, and providing that the seller signed the mandatory statement upon the sale of those goods, a law enforcement officer with jurisdiction should charge the seller with theft by deception under N.J.S.A. 2C:20-4 on behalf of the dealer, who shall be considered the victim of the offense for the purposes of N.J.S.A. 2C:43-3. The officer shall seize the goods, provide the dealer with a receipt, and issue a criminal complaint against the seller for theft by deception and any other criminal charges for which the officer has probable cause that the seller has committed. If convicted of theft by deception and if so found by an order of a court of valid jurisdiction, the seller will be responsible for providing restitution to the dealer under N.J.S.A. 2C:44-2 for the amount paid by the dealer to the seller for the stolen goods.
It shall be an affirmative defense to any prosecution or administrative proceeding brought against a dealer for a violation of this section if retention for the time period required would have resulted in serious and substantial economic losses to the dealer, or the probability of such losses was significant due to rapid and highly fluctuating market conditions, provided that the persons so charged shall prove the existence of the market conditions giving rise to the aforesaid defense by a preponderance of the evidence. Market conditions, in order to be a defense hereunder, must be such that financial analysts would characterize trading as at or approaching a level or occurrence so as to clearly distinguish trading conditions from normal variations in market movement in response to economic news or other events.
In addition to all other reporting requirements, every dealer shall maintain for at least five years a written record of all purchases of scrap metal.
No dealer shall purchase any item covered by this chapter from any person under the age of 18 or in the absence of providing prior notification of such purchase to the Chief of Police or business designee identifying the individual from whom such purchase is to be made and the item to be purchased.
Suspension. The Chief of Police or a designee thereof is hereby empowered to temporarily suspend for cause any dealer's license and rights to operate thereunder. This penalty shall be in addition to any fines and penalties the dealer may incur pursuant to § 319-9 of this chapter.
Grounds for suspension. The following shall constitute grounds for suspension: violation of any provisions of this chapter, including failure to comply with any training or fees associated with the electronic database software system in use by the Township; violation of any other statute, regulation, or local ordinance; or any other illegal, improper, or fraudulent activity.
Procedure for suspension. Upon determination that appropriate grounds exist and that a suspension is warranted, the Chief of Police or a designee thereof shall issue a written notice of suspension of license to the offending dealer and to the Municipal Clerk, which shall set forth the grounds for the suspension and notify the dealer of his or her right to appeal pursuant to Subsection H. A temporary suspension shall issue immediately, pending the outcome of any appeal taken. Suspended dealers must immediately cease all purchasing and/or selling of scrap metal in the Township until reinstatement.
Reinstatement. Suspended dealers may be reinstated only when the grounds leading to the suspension have, in the determination of the Chief of Police or the Chief's designee, been cured, corrected, or appropriately rectified; or if reinstatement is deemed appropriate by the three-person panel appointed by the Chief of Police, upon the timely filing of an appeal as provided in Subsection H.
Revocation. A license issued under this chapter may be revoked by the Municipal Clerk upon written recommendation from the Chief of Police or the Chief's designee that the dealer is no longer qualified, capable or competent to comply with the requirements of this chapter. This penalty shall be in addition to any fines and penalties the dealer may incur under § 319-9.
Grounds for revocation. The following shall constitute grounds for revocation: a third violation under this chapter; a second violation under this chapter less than one year after an earlier violation under this chapter; conviction for a criminal offense within this or any jurisdiction; or multiple violations of any other regulations or local ordinances within the Township of Little Egg Harbor or any jurisdiction.
Procedure for revocation. Upon a determination that appropriate grounds exist and that a revocation is warranted, the Chief of Police or the Chief's designee shall so report to the Municipal Clerk in writing. A temporary suspension will immediately and automatically issue, if one is not already in effect, pending the outcome of the charge. A three-person panel, appointed by the Chief of Police, shall review the stated grounds for revocation, and the panel shall issue an appropriate disposition of either suspension, revocation, or reinstatement. If the panel determines that revocation is the appropriate disposition, it shall set forth the grounds for the same in writing in the form of a notice of revocation, which shall be provided to the dealer. The notice shall advise the dealer of the right to appeal. If the panel determines that suspension is the appropriate disposition, it shall provide the dealer with a notice of suspension that shall advise the dealer of the right to appeal. Following revocation, the dealer must relinquish his or her license and must immediately and indefinitely cease operating a scrap metal business within the Township.
Appeal. Any applicant wishing to appeal an issuance of a suspension or revocation shall be entitled to a hearing before the Township Committee, at which time the applicant shall be permitted to introduce such evidence as may be deemed relevant to such suspension or revocation. Any applicant exercising the right to appeal must file a written notice of appeal within 10 days of receiving written notice of revocation or suspension of license.
A dealer shall have the right to change the location of the licensed business, provided that he or she notifies the Municipal Clerk, in writing, of the street address of said new location.
Each dealer covered under this chapter shall deliver a bond to the Municipal Clerk executed by the applicant as principal and executed by a surety company authorized to do business under the laws of the State of New Jersey. The bond shall be subject to review and approval by the Township Attorney, and shall be in the penal sum of $10,000, conditioned for the due and proper observance of and compliance with the provisions and requirements of all ordinances of the Township in force or which may be adopted respecting the conduct of this business and conditioned also that the bond shall be and remain for the benefit of any person or persons who shall have received judgment against the dealer licensed under this chapter, which damage shall be established by a judgment of a court of proper jurisdiction. Said bond shall contain the following language: "The obligation of this bond shall, in addition to the Township of Little Egg Harbor, be and remain for the benefit of any person who shall obtain a judgment against obligor as a result of damage sustained in operation pursuant to any license granted under this chapter." Said bond shall be kept for a minimum of one year from the date of issuance of license and must be renewed annually along with the license.
A nonrefundable fee for initial application and license under this chapter is $300. The annual renewal fee for a license is $250. These fees are separate from and in addition to any fees the dealer must pay in relation to the mandatory electronic database system designated by the Chief of Police. Payments are to be made in the manner directed by the Municipal Clerk. A license is valid for a one-year period from the date of its issuance.
Violation of any provision of this chapter by any dealer shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by a fine not in excess of $2,000 or by a term of imprisonment or a period of community service not exceeding 90 days, in addition to a suspension or revocation of the operating license as provided in § 319-6. Each and every violation shall be considered a separate violation. Each violation shall result in an additional suspension period. Any person who is found guilty of violating the provisions of this chapter within one year of the date of a previous violation and who was fined for the previous violation may be sentenced by the court to an additional fine as a repeat offender and, in addition, may be subject to revocation proceedings as provided in § 319-6G. The additional fine imposed as a repeat offender shall not be less than the minimum or exceed the maximum fine provided herein, and same shall be calculated separately from the fine imposed for the violation of this chapter.
Any person, partnership, limited liability company, corporation, or other entity engaging in the business of a pawnbroker, or a dealer in precious metals or other secondhand goods, shall conform to the provisions of this chapter within 90 days following the effective date of this chapter.