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Video Game Bandits
City shifts policy after a rash of burglaries.
Video games stores operating in Milwaukee will face a host of new regulations under an ordinance passed today by the Milwaukee Common Council.

The stores, and all other dealers of video games and video game systems, will be licensed and regulated as secondhand dealers, a classification setup in part to better track items stolen from homes and later sold for a profit. Hawkers of games and gaming equipment were originally exempted from licensing, but the council removed the exemption, meaning stores will have to regularly report information on secondhand purchases to the Milwaukee Police Department. The information on games and other merchandise is used in a database investigators can search when someone reports a theft.

The ordinance's sponsors, South Side aldermen Bob Donovan and Jose Perez, said in the legislation that "video games and video game systems have increasingly become the target of burglaries and theft."

The ordinance also noted that many stores are already reporting data to MPD without a requirement; the ordinance will only standardize the practice across the market.

With PC game sales migrating to the web, to direct-download outlets such as the Steam service, bricks-and-mortar stores are increasingly focused on console titles and secondhand sales of all sorts.

(Police Quest: In Pursuit of the Death Angel image taken from mobygames.com)

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