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After Accepting Brazilian Passport as ID, Gold Buyers Serving 7-Day Suspension

The Board of Selectmen handed down a 7-day suspension to Gold Buyers at the Mall following a public hearing on Tuesday.

When Bob Knapp logged on to Danvers Patch last month, he was surprised what he saw.

Knapp, director of loss prevention for Gold Buyers at the Mall, read a story about the company’s location at Liberty Tree Mall and saw that the location was facing accusations that it accepted an improper type of ID from a seller.

Last Tuesday night, after an extensive discussion, the Board of Selectmen decided to impose a seven day suspension that is being served this week in connection to that violation. The suspension, the board said, was actually a prior suspension that been held over the head of the business for a year following a prior infraction. The business had to avoid trouble for a year to avoid the penalty.

Members of the Board of Selectmen were split on how harsh the penalty should have been. Some suggested that the latest infraction - accepting a Brazilian ID from a seller - was minor. But others pointed to prior infractions last year that included accepting various forms of ID that were not allowed by the town bylaw, including a Costco membership card and Dominican Republic voting card, combined to be more serious.

Chairman Bill Clark said he has been a victim of a house break-in and "it's not something that is easily healable." Having the proper identification of people who sell jewelry and other items is important as part of police investigations, he said.

Selectman Gardner Trask said the town's bylaw about IDs that can be accepted by secondhand dealers is "very specific and very succinct" and favored the 7 day suspension.

Dan Bennett, a selectman, said the board was told last year that things would change yet the business had to return for accusations of another violation.

"The 7 days - we did that for a reason and I think that has to be served," he said.

Others, such as Selectman Keith Lucy, suggested that one infraction in recent months shows significant progress and the town has gotten the business' attention.

"We try to get these people to make progress and they have," Lucy said.

He also express concern for the Gold Buyers employees who would be out of work for a week and called a 7 day suspension "a little bit over the top" and "extremely excessive."

He suggested a two day suspension but the board voted that down 3-2.

Selectman Michael Powers also though a 7 day suspension was too much, calling it "significant overkill" and said the business had demonstrated a "cultural shift in support of our bylaw in a big way."

Police Chief Neil Oullette said the address listed in the passport - 85 Swan St. in Everett - does not exist.

Knapp said the store's employee was not sure if the Brazilian ID could be accepted, pointing to a stamp inside that said it was issued in the United States. A U.S. passport is acceptable ID. That manager took responsibility for making the decision to take the improper ID.

And Knapp later said that his surprise about the impending penalty was because of a lack of communication from a Gold Buyers employee. The local store was notified but Knapp, who works directly for the company's chief operating officer, was never notified.

In addition to the seven day suspension that began on Feb. 11, Gold Buyers also has a two day suspension hanging over its head - known as being held in abeyance - if it gets in trouble again in the next year.

"You won't see me again," Knapp promised.

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