An Alexandria judge has dismissed charges against two employes of a precious metals firm who were arrested in a police drive aimed at silver and gold dealers.
The decision apparently will end the crackdown at least until the city enacts an ordinance covering the dealers.
General District Court Judge Daniel O'Flaherty ruled on Thursday that O. Patsy Miller and Roxanne Higgenbotham could not be held responsible for the alleged failure of their employer, Precious Metals, Specialists Inc., to obtain a second-hand-dealer's permit.
Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney S. Randolph Sengel, who concurred with the judge's decision, said yesterday the city will have to draw up a new ordinance covering dealings by precious metals firms. "There are problems that need to be addressed," he said.
Sengel said Virginia Attorney General J. Marshall Coleman has ruled that precious metals firms are not required to obtain a second-hand-dealer's permit.
He said he and Assistant City Attorney Tom Jacks have been working on draft legislation that will be submitted to the City Council, possibly in the form of an emergency ordinance that could take affect immediately.
Police instituted their crackdown because they said heightened activity in the purchase of used silver and gold objects was leading to an increase in the number of burglaries in the city.
But William Bucks, president of Precious Metals Sepcialists, called the police move harassment. He said the requirement that dealers hold onto objects for 10 days was unrealistic because of the daily fluctuations in the prices of silver and gold.