Code Section

Business and Professions Code - BPC

DIVISION 8. SPECIAL BUSINESS REGULATIONS [18400 - 22949.51]

  ( Division 8 added by Stats. 1941, Ch. 44. )
  

CHAPTER 9. Secondhand Goods [21500 - 21672]

  ( Chapter 9 added by Stats. 1941, Ch. 50. )
  

ARTICLE 4. Tangible Personal Property [21625 - 21647]
  ( Heading of Article 4 amended by Stats. 1980, Ch. 499, Sec. 4.5. )

  
21647.  

(a) (1) If a peace officer has probable cause to believe that property, except coins, monetized bullion, or “commercial grade ingots” as defined in subdivision (d) of Section 21627, in the possession of a licensed pawnbroker or secondhand dealer is lost, stolen, or embezzled, the peace officer may place a hold on the property for a period not to exceed 90 days.

(2) A 90-day hold issued pursuant to this section:

(A) Is created upon the receipt by a licensed pawnbroker or secondhand dealer of a written notice by a peace officer that contains the following:

(i) An accurate description of the property being placed on the 90-day hold.

(ii)  An acknowledgment that the property is being placed on hold pursuant to this section and denoting whether physical possession will remain with the licensed pawnbroker or secondhand dealer or will be taken by the law enforcement agency instituting the 90-day hold.

(iii) The law enforcement agency’s police report or department record number, if issued, for which the property is needed as evidence.

(iv) The date the notice was delivered to the licensed pawnbroker or secondhand dealer that shall initiate the notification period set forth in subdivisions (c) and (g).

(B) Shall not exceed a period of 90 calendar days, but may be renewed as provided in subparagraph (C).

(C) May be renewed as often as is required for a criminal investigation or criminal proceeding by any peace officer who is a member of the same law enforcement agency as the peace officer placing the hold on the property.

(D) Permits a peace officer to either take physical possession of the property as evidence, consistent with a peace officer’s right to a plain view seizure for a criminal investigation or criminal proceeding, or to leave the property in the possession of the licensed pawnbroker or secondhand dealer as a custodian on behalf of the law enforcement agency.

(E) Requires the licensed pawnbroker or secondhand dealer to maintain physical possession of the property placed on hold and prohibits the property’s release or disposal, except pursuant to the written authorization signed by a peace officer who is a member of the same law enforcement agency as the peace officer placing the hold on the property.

(F) Terminates when the property is no longer needed as evidence in a criminal investigation or criminal proceeding, at which time the property shall be disposed of pursuant to subdivision (d).

(G) Shall not be applicable to secure lost, stolen, or embezzled property found in the possession of an unlicensed pawnbroker or secondhand dealer that has not duly and correctly reported the acquisition pursuant to Section 21628. In such a circumstance, a peace officer, having probable cause to believe the property found in the possession of an unlicensed pawnbroker or secondhand dealer is lost, stolen, or embezzled, may seize the item or items consistent with the authority granted the peace officer under the Penal Code or any other law.

(b) (1) Whenever property that is in the possession of a licensed pawnbroker or secondhand dealer, and that has been placed on hold pursuant to this section, is required by a peace officer in a criminal investigation, the licensed pawnbroker or secondhand dealer, upon reasonable notice, shall produce the property at reasonable times and places or may deliver the property to the peace officer upon the request of any peace officer.

(2) If property placed on hold pursuant to this section is physically surrendered or delivered to a law enforcement agency during the period of the hold, the hold and the pawnbroker’s lien against the property shall continue.

(c) Whenever a law enforcement agency has knowledge that property in the possession of a licensed pawnbroker or secondhand dealer has been reported as lost, stolen, or embezzled, the law enforcement agency shall, within two business days after placing the hold on the property pursuant to this section, notify in writing the person who reported the property as lost, stolen, or embezzled of the following:

(1) The name, address, and telephone number of the licensed pawnbroker or secondhand dealer who reported the acquisition of the property.

(2) That the law neither requires nor prohibits payment of a fee or any other condition in return for the surrender of the property, except that when the person who reported the property lost, stolen, or embezzled does not choose to participate in the prosecution of an identified alleged thief, the person shall pay the licensed pawnbroker or secondhand dealer the “out-of-pocket” expenses paid in the acquisition of the property in return for the surrender of the property.

(3) That if the person who reported the property as lost, stolen, or embezzled takes no action to recover the property from the licensed pawnbroker or secondhand dealer within 60 days of the mailing of the notice, the licensed pawnbroker or secondhand dealer may treat the property as other property received in the ordinary course of business. During the 60-day notice period, the licensed pawnbroker or secondhand dealer may not release the property to any other person.

(4) That a copy of the notice, with the address of the person who reported the property as lost, stolen, or embezzled deleted, will be mailed to the licensed pawnbroker or secondhand dealer who is in possession of the property.

(d) When property that is in the possession of a licensed pawnbroker or secondhand dealer is subject to a hold as provided in subdivision (a), and the property is no longer required for the purpose of a criminal investigation or criminal proceeding, the law enforcement agency that placed the hold on the property shall release the hold on the property and return the property to the licensed pawnbroker or secondhand dealer from which it was taken if the law enforcement agency took physical possession of the property.

(e) If a pledgor seeks to redeem property that is subject to a hold, the licensed pawnbroker shall advise the pledgor of the name of the peace officer who placed the hold on the property and the name of the law enforcement agency of which the officer is a member. If the property is not required to be held pursuant to a criminal prosecution the hold shall be released.

(f) Whenever information regarding allegedly lost, stolen, or embezzled property is entered into the Department of Justice automated property system or automated firearms system, and the property is thereafter identified and found to be in the possession of a licensed pawnbroker or secondhand dealer, the property shall be placed on a hold pursuant to this section and Section 11108.5 of the Penal Code.

(g) If the hold, including any additional hold, is allowed to lapse, or 60 days elapse following the delivery of the notice required to be given by subdivision (c) to the person who reported the property to be lost, stolen, or embezzled without a claim being made by that person, whichever is later, the licensed pawnbroker or secondhand dealer may mail under a certificate of mailing issued by the United States Post Office, addressed to the law enforcement agency that placed the property on hold, a written request to delete the property listing from the Department of Justice automated property system or automated firearms system, as is applicable. Within 30 days after the request has been mailed, the law enforcement agency shall either cause the property listing to be deleted as requested or place a hold on the property. If no law enforcement agency takes any further action with respect to the property within 45 days after the mailing of the request, the licensed pawnbroker or secondhand dealer may presume that the property listing has been deleted as requested and may thereafter deal with the property accordingly, and shall not be subject to liability arising from the failure of the removal of the property listing from the Department of Justice automated property system or automated firearms system.

(h) A licensed pawnbroker or secondhand dealer shall not refuse a request to place property in their possession on hold pursuant to this section when a peace officer has probable cause to believe the property is lost, stolen, or embezzled. If a licensed pawnbroker or secondhand dealer refuses a request to place property on hold pursuant to this section, the property may be seized with or without a warrant. The peace officer shall issue a receipt, as described in Section 21206.7 of the Financial Code, left with the licensed pawnbroker or secondhand dealer. The property shall be disposed of pursuant to procedures set forth in Section 21206.8 of the Financial Code, which shall apply to both licensed pawnbrokers and secondhand dealers under this section.

(i) If a search warrant is issued for the search of the business of a licensed pawnbroker or secondhand dealer to secure lost, stolen, or embezzled property that has been placed on hold, the hold shall continue for the duration that the property remains subject to the court’s jurisdiction. Notwithstanding any other law, when the use of the property seized for a criminal investigation or criminal proceeding has concluded, the property shall be disposed of pursuant to subdivision (d).

(j) If a civil or criminal court is called upon to adjudicate the competing claims of a licensed pawnbroker or secondhand dealer and another party claiming ownership or an interest in the property that is or was subject to a hold pursuant to this section, the court shall award possession of the property only after due consideration is given to the effect of Section 2403 of the Commercial Code.

(k) A licensed pawnbroker or secondhand dealer is not subject to civil liability for compliance with this section.

(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 318, Sec. 1. (SB 762) Effective January 1, 2014.)