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Small-Business Owners Arrested
Jul 18, 2012
What does it take to get a small-business owner arrested?
Not much, sometimes.
Take Kentucky pawn shop owner Randy Hale. A man came into his store and claimed a tiller Hale was trying to sell was in fact his; when Hale wouldn't give it to him, but offered to sell it to him, he called the authorities. What happened next, according to police spokesman Shane Jacobs:
“Once we made contact with Mr. Hale, he failed to provide any information on who brought the stolen property in, the date, the time, so we made an arrest.”
The law required him to have a record; he didn't have it; he was arrested.
There is, certainly, some basis for laws like this as part of the enforcement of property rights. And the news reports I've found on this story are short; perhaps there are key facts I don't know. Yet even so, the idea that a person can be arrested for misplacing one among dozens, hundreds, perhaps thousands of documents should raise questions about whether the laws involved have been crafted well.
Or consider the case of Southwest Florida beachfront bar owner Steve Strauss. State regulators drew a line in the sand and told him not to go more than 19 feet from his bar to serve drinks nearer the water. Then they sent in undercover agents to try to buy drinks. The agents were served, and Strauss was arrested. He was charged with selling alcohol illegally.