At their latest meeting, Harvey County Commissioners approved a resolution prohibiting the alteration of serial numbers with the intent to conceal the identity of the item from its owner.
Although the defacing of identification markings on firearms, vehicles and oil field equipment is addressed by several state statutes, other items, such as phones, iPods and flat-screen TVs, aren’t covered.
The new Harvey County resolution makes it unlawful for a person to willfully change, cover, alter, remove, obliterate or deface any serial number or other manufacturer’s number or any identification letters, words or numbers with the intent to conceal the identity of an item from the rightful owner or law enforcement.
It also is unlawful for a person to knowingly buy, sell, receive, barter, trade, dispose of or possess these altered devices.
Violators could face a maximum penalty of a $500 fine or incarceration not to exceed 30 days in the county jail, or both.
County law enforcers still believe it should be a state wide statute to make it harder for criminals to steal.
January 10th, 2012
It's a brand new power tool but someone has scratched off the serial number. Most likely it's stolen property
"We found several items that were brand new tools you could see where they scratched out the serial numbers," said Harvey County Undersheriff Todd Hanchett.
Within the Newton City limits, that is illegal. But Harvey County doesn't have the same law so officials couldn't do anything about it.
"We could have gotten several misdemeanors out of one incident but now we just seize the property," Hanchett said.
Without a serial number, officials can't prove the property is stolen and therefore they don't have a case. Hanchett is now asking the County to consider adopting such an ordinance.
"To make it harder for the bad guy to make a living," said Hanchett.
Hanchett says it would be another tool to prevent and prosecute criminals.