Monday’s City Council hearing at 250 Broadway wasn’t well attended, but the reason for the hearing might raise some eyebrows, particularly if you run one of the many pawnshops and scrap metal businesses in the five boroughs.

The council hearing centered on Int. No. 1177, an amendment to the administrative code of the city of New York in relation to the record-keeping requirements for second-hand dealers, scrap processors and pawn brokers. Sponsored by New York City Council Members Daniel Garodnick, Margaret Chin, Peter Koo, G. Oliver Koppell and Dan Halloran (by request of Mayor Michael Bloomberg), the bill would require the aforementioned businesses to keep electronic records of the names, addresses and items of sale or purchases on a website that will be designed by the police commissioner.

The bill would also expand record keeping requirements for used car dealers, but those records won’t be electronic. Second-hand dealers, pawn shops and scrap processors already keep physical records that can be accessed by the New York Police Department at their request.

Deputy Commissioner John Bilich provided testimony on the NYPD’s behalf. Bilich talked about the alleged difficulty cops have with curbing property theft of electronic devices. According to Bilich, theft of electronic products accounted for over 40 percent of robberies, burglaries and grand larcenies in the city.

In 2012, there were approximately 16,000 thefts of Apple devices alone, which exceeded the increase for overall crime in New York City,” said Bilich. “In the absence of the increase in Apple thefts, the city would have experienced a decline in 2012. In 2013, as of Nov. 10, cellphones were involved in nearly 45 percent of robberies, and over half of the devices stolen were iPhones.”

During his testimony, Bilich (and other NYPD officials) constantly referenced the website Leads Online, a web-based electronic data transfer service that serves as a repository for the transaction records of pawnbrokers and second-hand dealers. Businesses, which register voluntarily with the network, upload the same information they usually maintain hard copies of.

But in a retort, Jordan Tabach-Bank, a pawnbroker and director of the National Pawnbrokers Association (NPA), provided testimony against Int. No. 1177, stating that the amended law is out of proportion to the amount of times the crimes in question occur.

Pawnshops are highly regarded and therefore a terrible place to attempt to liquidate stolen property,” said Tabach-Bank. “In fact, the incidence of stolen items in pawnshops nationwide is less than one-tenth of 1 percent. This results from the longstanding record keeping requirements imposed by New York and other states with respect to obtaining personal identification from all customers.”

Tabach-Bank said that thieves already know that they’ll be caught if they frequent pawnshops with stolen property, so they sell their good at less regulated places like flea markets and on websites like Craigslist and eBay. The NPA director also said that the Int. No. 1177 would violate consumers’ rights to privacy and due process of law. He also stated that most pawn clientele are respectable customers who are unable to obtain other means of credit and pawning items for money is no different than withdrawing a cash advance from a credit card.

Tabach-Bank also said that the amended law would amount to profiling based on age, gender, ethnicity and ZIP code of residence and it would leave the consumer unprotected from identify theft.

Eric Modell, president of the Collateral Loanbrokers Association of New York, also provided testimony and immediately launched into criticism of the NYPD, whose officials left the hearing once they gave their testimony, and told those in attendance that he had used Leads Online for six years, but it was so harmful to his business and to his customers, who learned firsthand what happened when law enforcement had unlimited access to customer information.

“A law-abiding customer of ours, who prefers to remain anonymous, had used our services for more than five years when she was subjected to the unintended consequences of Leads,” said Modell. “During her time as a customer in my store, she regularly pledged and redeemed a single item of jewelry. Based upon the information furnished to the New York City Police Department by Leads, our customer was confronted regarding her loan activity, which was unilaterally deemed to be suspicious by New York City Police Department personnel. No warrant or judicial oversight was secured before our customer was subjected to police scrutiny.”

Modell said the person in question was woken up in the middle of the night by two officers and interrogated over her loan transactions. After the hearing, Modell spoke to the AmNews and gave his thoughts on the NYPD’s testimony.

“The testimony seems to indicate that property crime, specifically Apple product theft, exists because there are pawnshops and second-hand stores,” said Modell. “This is offensive. The licensed operators are business people who are invested in their operations and look to deter stolen merchandise because it costs us money that we cannot get back. If Apple crime is at the heart of this, work with Apple to develop a ‘kill switch’ solution.”

If Modell and Tabach-Bank have their way, a “kill switch” solution would be enacted on Int. No. 1177. As for the next step, Modell said that they’ll continue to fight even if the law is enacted. Modell maintained his belief in the unconstitutionality of the law.