Seven Augusta pawnshops were issued magistrate court citations after a sheriff’s office investigation into the illegal purchase of precious metals or gems.
Plainclothes deputies visited 30 pawnshops and gold buyers over several days to review improper or illegal purchase procedures.
According to a statement from the sheriff’s office, officers were searching for businesses or individuals who purchase gold, silver or platinum metals or precious gems without a regulatory permit, or without obtaining identification from the seller or documenting the sale. Proper documentation of a sale includes a receipt of purchase, photos of the items, fingerprints and daily reporting to authorities.
Seven of the sellers were found in violation for not obtaining identification documenting the sale. Those sellers include: GA Pawn and Jewelry, 1659 Gordon Highway; EZQ Pawn, 2160 Martin Luther King Blvd; Miller Pawn, 2852 Deans Bridge Road; Hephzibah Pawn, 2356 Highway 88 in Hephzibah; Golden Jewelers, 3205 Deans Bridge Road; Simons Auto Sales, Printing and Gold Buying, 2225 Wheeless Road; and King’s Jewelers, 3450 Wrightsboro Road in Augusta Mall.
Three of those – Golden Jewelers, Simons Auto Sales, Printing and Gold Buying and King’s Jewelers — were also found to not have permits from the sheriff’s office.
The businesses or individuals issued citations will be required to go before a magistrate court judge. The findings will then be forwarded to the licensing and inspection department, which has the power to add additional fines and fees, revoke a license or issues a cease order, according to the sheriff’s office.
Anyone interested in the business of purchasing or dealing in precious metals, precious gems or antique coins is asked to contact Investigator Kendall Brown at (706) 821-1440 or Deputy Cheryl Shields at (706) 821-1447 for information on obtaining a permit or record keeping requirements.
Failure to comply with the law will result in citations, fines, confiscation of illegally purchased materials and possibly the revocation of a business license, the sheriff’s office said.