Sometimes, a bike shop is not just a bike shop. Sometimes it’s also a pawnbroker.
At least, that’s what the Colorado Court of Appeals said Aug. 22, when it unanimously affirmed a Boulder County district court’s ruling that The Pro’s Closet, a Boulder-based retailer of used bicycles, bike parts and gear, is a pawnbroker.
And a pawnbroker by any other name would still be subject to the state’s pawnbroker statute, which requires that items purchased by a pawnbroker be held for 30 days before they can be sold. Attorneys for TPC say that’s a heavy burden for their client and one that a wide range of businesses could also be forced to bear under the courts’ interpretation.
Others are skeptical the obscure law, which has been on the books for 35 years without causing much fuss, will be wielded broadly against other businesses that sell secondhand goods.
The case traces back to 2016, when TPC, which has a warehouse but does most of its business online, started operating in the City of Boulder. After finding stolen bikes among the company’s inventory, the Boulder Police Department and district attorney’s office started treating TPC as a pawnbroker.