Bettendorf to suspend pawn shop license

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BETTENDORF, Iowa. (KWQC) - The Bettendorf pawn shop at the center of a now closed theft investigation may have to shut down for two months this summer. In a letter obtained by TV-6 investigates through a records request, the City of Bettendorf wants to suspend Premier Pawn's business licenses for 60 days starting in June.

The City letter said it has cited Premier several times for violating city pawn shop ordinances. The letter was sent April 25. In it the City Attorney said Premier and its employees including Co-owners Jeff Hughes and James Revell have been cited four times for improperly holding and improperly reporting merchandise which was later determined to be stolen. Premier's attorney declined to comment Monday.

In the last few months Premier Co-owner Jeff Hughes and manager Shane Tague accepted plea deals in a theft case. They were accused of buying $16,000 worth of heirloom jewelry they knew to be stolen, not holding it long enough before altering some of it, and not returning the property when the owner came into the store.

They entered Alford pleas, meaning they did not admit guilt, but admitted the prosecution would likely win its case if it went to trial. The plea deal followed a settlement in a related civil case brought by the jewelry's owner.

In prior civil citations issued by police, Premier was cited with not properly reporting to a police tracking system a$10,000 brooch which had been reported stolen, and not holding items bought from customers long enough before altering the pieces.

Hughes and Revell were also cited for not holding property they bought for the required length of time. Tague was cited for selling property before the hold time ended as well. All pleaded guilty to these citations and paid fines. Tague has also been cited for providing false information to police during a stolen property investigation. That case is still pending.

Premier has appealed the city's ruling. A hearing hasn't been set yet, but City sources said one will likely take place in the next few weeks. If the 60 day suspension stands, Premier's operating licenses will be suspended starting June first.