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Q: Statutes prohibiting removal of serial numbers from products ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Question  
Subject: Statutes prohibiting removal of serial numbers from products
Category: Relationships and Society > Law
Asked by: mself2-ga
List Price: $200.00
Posted: 29 Sep 2006 13:26 PDT
Expires: 29 Oct 2006 12:26 PST
Question ID: 769537
In which US states and federal jurisdictions is it illegal to posses
or sell items that have had their serial numbers removed, altered or
defaced?

For each of the 50 states, what is the number and text of the relevant statute?

For example, New Hampshire has statute 637-7:a Possession of Property
Without Serial Number and South Dakota has status 22-30A-39.

I'm looking for a state-by-state list of the statute numbers, if their
is one for that state.  Also whether there are any applicable federal
statutes.

I am not interested in laws specifically about serial numbers on
firearms or vehicles -- only laws regulating ordinary consumer
products that may have serial numbers.
Answer  
Subject: Re: Statutes prohibiting removal of serial numbers from products
Answered By: scriptor-ga on 29 Sep 2006 17:40 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
 
Dear mself2,

I have searched the statutes and codes of all states, and I found out
that many, but not all states have laws that prohibit possession
and/or sale of common items where a serial number has been removed. I
could not find any Federal laws on this particular issue.

Here are the results of my research. I have also included such laws
that are closely related with it, such as in the case of Delaware. I
hope that it is what you were looking for!
Best regards,
Scriptor



--- Arizona ---

13-2306. Possession of altered property; classification

A. A person who is a dealer in property and recklessly possesses
property the permanent identifying features of which, including serial
numbers or labels, have been removed or in any fashion altered is
guilty of a class 6 felony.




--- California ---

537e.  (a) Any person who knowingly buys, sells, receives, disposes
of, conceals, or has in his or her possession any personal property
from which the manufacturer's serial number, identification number,
electronic serial number, or any other distinguishing number or
identification mark has been removed, defaced, covered, altered, or
destroyed, is guilty of a public offense




--- Colorado ---

18-5-305. Identification number - altering - possession.

(1) A person commits the crime of altering identification number if,
with intent that identification of an article be hindered or
prevented, he obscures an identification number or in the course of
business he sells, offers for sale, leases, or otherwise disposes of
an article knowing that an identification number thereon is obscured.

(2) "Identification number" means a serial or motor number placed by
the manufacturer upon an article as a permanent individual identifying
mark.

(3) "Obscure" means to destroy, remove, alter, conceal, or deface so
as to render illegible by ordinary means of inspection.

(4) Possession of an article on which an identification number is
obscured is prima facie evidence that the person possessing it
obscured the number with intent to hinder or prevent identification of
the article, and that he knows that the identification number is
obscured, unless, prior to his arrest or the issuance of a warrant for
a search of the premises where the article is kept, whichever is
earlier, he reports possession of the article to the police or other
appropriate law enforcement agency.




--- Connecticut ---

Sec. 53-132a. Altering manufacturer's serial number.

(a) For the purposes of this section, a manufacturer's serial number
means that number or other mark which identifies any product, other
than a motor vehicle, and distinguishes it from other products of like
model and kind produced by the same manufacturer and may be punched,
impressed or affixed by plate. No person shall remove, deface, alter
or obliterate any manufacturer's serial number on any manufactured
product with intent to prevent the tracing or identification of such
product or shall knowingly sell, offer for sale, or purchase any such
product whose manufacturer's serial number has been removed, defaced,
altered or obliterated with intent to prevent the tracing or
identification of such product.




--- Delaware ---

 852. Receiving stolen property; presumption of knowledge.

Knowledge that property has been acquired under circumstances
amounting to theft may be presumed in the case of a person who
acquires it for a consideration which the person knows is
substantially below its reasonable value, or that a person possesses
property whose affixed identification or serial number is altered,
removed, defaced or falsified.




--- Florida ---

817.235  Personal property; removing or altering identification marks.-- 

(1)  Except as otherwise provided by law, any person who, with intent
to prevent identification by the true owner, removes, erases, defaces,
or otherwise alters any serial number or other mark of identification
placed on any item of personal property by the manufacturer or owner
thereof is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as
provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(2)  Any person who possesses any item of personal property with the
knowledge that the serial number or other mark of identification
placed thereon by the manufacturer or owner thereof has been removed,
erased, defaced, or otherwise altered with intent to prevent
identification by the true owner is guilty of a misdemeanor of the
first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.




--- Hawaii ---

708-838 Removal of identification marks.

A person commits the offense of removal of identification marks if 

(1) The person defaces, erases, or otherwise alters any serial number
or identification mark placed or inscribed by the manufacturer, or

(2) The person knowingly, to conceal the true ownership of the
property of another, defaces, erases, or otherwise alters any serial
number or identification mark placed or inscribed

on any bicycle, movable or immovable construction tool or equipment,
appliance, merchandise, or other article for the purpose of
identifying the bicycle, movable or immovable tool or equipment,
appliance, merchandise or other article or its component parts, with a
value of more than $50. A person removes identification marks if the
person attempts to or succeeds in erasing, defacing, altering, or
removing a serial number or identification mark or part thereof, on
the property of another.


708-839 Unlawful possession.

It shall be unlawful for any person to possess any bicycle, movable
construction tool or equipment, appliance, merchandise, or other
article, or any part thereof

(1) Where the serial number or identification mark placed on the same
by the manufacturer for the purpose of identification, or

(2) Knowing the serial number or identification mark placed on the
same for the purpose of identification,

has been erased, altered, changed or removed for the purpose of
changing the identity of the foregoing items.




--- Indiana ---

IC 35-43-4-2.3
Dealing in altered property

    (b) A dealer who recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally buys or
sells personal property in which the identification number or
manufacturer's serial number has been removed, altered, obliterated,
or defaced commits dealing in altered property, a Class A misdemeanor.




--- Iowa ---

 714.8 Fraudulent practices defined.

 A person who does any of the following acts is guilty of a fraudulent practice:
(...)
 5. Removes, alters or defaces any serial or other identification
number , or any owners' identification mark, from any property not the
person's own.




--- Kentucky ---

514.120 Obscuring identity of machine or other property.

(1) A person is guilty of obscuring the identity of a machine or other
property when he:
(a) Removes, defaces, covers, alters, destroys, or otherwise obscures the
manufacturer's serial number or any other distinguishing identification number
or mark, including property marked with a Social Security number or motor
vehicle operator's license number for identification purposes, upon any
automobile or other propelled vehicle, machine, or electrical or mechanical
device, or other property (including any part thereof) with intent to render it or
other property unidentifiable; or
(b) Possesses any automobile or other propelled vehicle, machine, or electrical or
mechanical device, or other property (including any part thereof) knowing that
the serial number or other identification number or mark, including property
marked with a Social Security number for identification purposes, has been
removed, defaced, covered, altered, destroyed, or otherwise obscured.




--- Louisiana ---

RS32:726
726.  Destruction or alteration of distinguishing number or mark

A.  No person shall with fraudulent intent deface, destroy or alter
the manufacturer's serial or engine number or other distinguishing
number or identification mark of a motor vehicle nor shall any person
place or stamp any serial, engine, or other number or mark upon a
motor vehicle, except one assigned thereto by the commissioner.  Any
violation of this provision is a misdemeanor.


RS14:203
203.  Electrical appliances, sale without original factory serial
number prohibited; penalty

No person shall offer to sell or cause to be sold or distributed
either retail or wholesale, new household appliances, such as radios,
television sets, refrigerators, washing machines, ironers, dryers, gas
or electric ranges, air conditioners, without the appliance having the
original factory serial number indicated thereon provided it is the
custom of the manufacturer to place serial numbers on the appliances.




--- Maine ---

705. Criminal simulation

 1. A person is guilty of criminal simulation if:
(...)
D. With intent to defraud and to prevent identification:   
 	
(1) He alters, removes or obscures the manufacturer's serial number or
any other distinguishing identification number, mark or symbol upon
any automobile, snowmobile, outboard motor, motorboat, aircraft or any
other vehicle or upon any machine, firearm or other object; or
 	
(2) He possesses any such object or any such item after that number
has been altered, removed or obscured.




--- Maryland ---

 6-306. Serial number - Alteration and sale of good.

(a)  Prohibited - Alteration.- A person may not remove, deface, or
obliterate a manufacturer's serial number that is punched on or
affixed by plate to a manufactured good with the intent to prevent
tracing or identifying that good.

(b)  Same - Sale of good.- Except as provided in  14-107(m) of the
Transportation Article, a person may not knowingly keep or offer for
sale a manufactured good from which the manufacturer's serial number
has been removed, defaced, or obliterated in violation of subsection
(a) of this section.




--- Michigan ---

750.536a Rendering goods or property unidentifiable; possession or
sale of goods or property with identifying number obscured, defaced,
altered, obliterated, removed, destroyed, or otherwise concealed or
disguised.

Sec. 536a.

(1) A person who obscures, defaces, alters, obliterates, removes,
destroys, or otherwise conceals or disguises any registration, serial,
or other identifying number embossed, engraved, carved, stamped,
welded, or otherwise placed or situated in or upon goods or property
held for sale in the ordinary course of business with the intent to
render the goods or property unidentifiable shall be guilty of a
misdemeanor.

(2) A person who is a dealer in or collector of any merchandise or
personal property or the agent, employee, or representative of a
dealer or collector and who possesses goods or property with the
intent to sell the goods or property in the ordinary course of
business knowing the registration, serial, or other identifying number
has been obscured, defaced, altered, obliterated, removed, destroyed,
or otherwise concealed or disguised shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

(3) A person who is a dealer or collector of any merchandise or
personal property or the agent, employee, or representative of a
dealer or collector and who sells goods or property in the ordinary
course of business knowing that the registration, serial, or other
identifying number has been obscured, defaced, altered, obliterated,
removed, destroyed, or otherwise concealed or disguised shall be
guilty of a misdemeanor.




--- Minnesota ---

609.52 Theft.

Subd. 2.    Acts constituting theft.  Whoever does any 
 of the following commits theft and may be sentenced as provided 
 in subdivision 3:
(...)
(11) with the intent to prevent the identification of 
 property involved, so as to deprive the rightful owner of 
 possession thereof, alters or removes any permanent serial 
 number, permanent distinguishing number or manufacturer's 
 identification number on personal property or possesses, sells 
 or buys any personal property knowing or having reason to know 
 that the permanent serial number, permanent distinguishing 
 number or manufacturer's identification number has been removed 
 or altered




--- Missouri ---

Alteration or removal of item numbers with intent to deprive lawful owner. 

570.085. 1. A person commits the crime of alteration or removal of
item numbers if he, with the purpose of depriving the owner of a
lawful interest therein:

(1) Destroys, removes, covers, conceals, alters, defaces, or causes to
be destroyed, removed, covered, concealed, altered, or defaced, the
manufacturer's original serial number or other distinguishing
owner-applied number or mark, on any item which bears a serial number
attached by the manufacturer or distinguishing number or mark applied
by the owner of the item, for any reason whatsoever;

(2) Sells, offers for sale, pawns or uses as security for a loan, any
item on which the manufacturer's original serial number or other
distinguishing owner-applied number or mark has been destroyed,
removed, covered, concealed, altered, or defaced; or

(3) Buys, receives as security for a loan or in pawn, or in any manner
receives or has in his possession any item on which the manufacturer's
original serial number or other distinguishing owner-applied number or
mark has been destroyed, removed, covered, concealed, altered, or
defaced.




--- Montana ---

45-6-326. Obscuring the identity of a machine.

(1) A person commits the offense of obscuring the identity of a machine if he: 
     (a) removes, defaces, covers, alters, destroys, or otherwise
obscures the manufacturer's serial number or any other distinguishing
identification number or mark upon any machine, vehicle, electrical
device, or firearm with the purpose to conceal, misrepresent, or
transfer any such machine, vehicle, electrical device, or firearm; or
     (b) possesses with the purpose to conceal, misrepresent, or
transfer any machine, vehicle, device, or firearm knowing that the
serial number or other identification number or mark has been removed
or otherwise obscured.
     (2) A person convicted of obscuring the identity of a machine
shall be fined not to exceed $500 or be imprisoned in the county jail
for a term not to exceed 6 months, or both.
     (3) The fact of possession or transfer of any such machine,
vehicle, electrical device, or firearm creates a presumption that the
person knew the serial number or other identification number or mark
had been removed or otherwise obscured.




--- Nevada ---

 NRS 205.275   Offense involving stolen property: Definition; penalty;
restitution; prima facie evidence; determination of value of property.

 5.  Possession by any person of three or more items of the same or a
similar class or type of personal property on which a permanently
affixed manufacturer?s serial number or manufacturer?s identification
number has been removed, altered or defaced, is prima facie evidence
that the person has violated this section.




--- New Hampshire ---

 637:7-a Possession of Property Without Serial Number.

 I. No person shall knowingly remove, deface, alter, change, destroy,
obliterate or mutilate, or cause to be removed, defaced, altered,
changed, destroyed, obliterated or mutilated the identifying number or
numbers or any other identifying mark on any machine, mechanical or
electrical device or any other property. Anyone doing so with the
intent thereby to conceal the identity of the item or to defraud a
manufacturer, seller or purchaser, or to hinder competition in the
areas of sales and servicing, or to prevent the detection of a crime
shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
    II. Any person who buys, receives, possesses, sells or disposes of
any machine, mechanical or electrical device or any other property
knowing that the identification number or numbers or any other
identifying mark on the item have been removed, defaced, altered,
changed, destroyed, obliterated or mutilated shall be guilty of a
misdemeanor. However, if a person discovering that the identification
number or numbers or any other identifying mark have been removed,
defaced, altered, changed, destroyed, obliterated or mutilated shall
report the same to the nearest police station, he shall not be charged
with violating this section. Further, said provisions do not apply to
those persons who, on August 13, 1977, are lawfully in possession of
that type of property described in paragraph I which does not have
identifying numbers or marks or from which the identifying marks or
numbers have been lost inadvertently.




--- New Jersey ---

2C:20-7.1.  Fencing
      
a.  Possession of altered property.    Any dealer in property who knew
or  should have known that the identifying features such as serial
numbers and permanently affixed labels of property in his possession
have been removed or altered without the consent of the manufacturer
is guilty of possession of altered property.  It is a defense to a
prosecution under this subsection that a person lawfully possesses the
usual indicia of ownership in addition to mere possession.




--- North Carolina ---

 14?160.1.  Alteration, destruction or removal of permanent
identification marks from personal property.

(a)       It shall be unlawful for any person to alter, deface,
destroy or remove the permanent serial number, manufacturer's
identification plate or other permanent, distinguishing number or
identification mark from any item of personal property with the intent
thereby to conceal or misrepresent the identity of said item.

(b)       It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly to sell, buy
or be in possession of any item of personal property, not his own, on
which the permanent serial number, manufacturer's identification plate
or other permanent, distinguishing number or identification mark has
been altered, defaced, destroyed or removed for the purpose of
concealing or misrepresenting the identity of said item.




--- North Dakota ---

12.1-23-08.2. Possession of altered property.

1. A person is guilty of the offense of possession of altered property
if he possesses
property the identifying features of which, including serial numbers
or labels, have
been removed or in any fashion altered, knowing the serial number or identification
mark placed on the same by the manufacturer or owner for the purpose of
identification, has been erased, altered, changed, or removed for the purpose of
changing the identity of such personal property.




--- Oklahoma ---

21?1546.  Removing, defacing, altering or obliterating ? Subsequent sale.

Any person, firm or corporation who removes, defaces, alters, changes,
destroys, covers, obliterates or makes a substitution of any
trademark, distinguishing or identification number, serial number or
mark, on or from any machine or electrical or mechanical device or
apparatus, and thereafter sells or resells or offers for sale or
resale the same in such condition, is guilty of a misdemeanor.


21?1547. Person acquiring machine or device with mark removed, altered, etc.

Any person, firm or corporation who acquires, for the purpose of sale
or resale and possesses any machine or electrical or mechanical device
or apparatus, or any of the parts thereof, from or on which any
trademark, distinguishing or identification number, serial number or
mark has been removed, covered, altered, changed, defaced, destroyed,
obliterated or substituted for, is guilty of a misdemeanor, unless
within ten (10) days after such machine or electrical or mechanical
device or apparatus, or any such part thereof, shall have come into
his or its possession, said person, firm or corporation files with the
chief law enforcement officer of the municipality in which the machine
or electrical or mechanical device or apparatus or any such part
thereof is located, or to the county sheriff of the county wherein
said property is located if not within a municipality, a verified
statement showing: The source of his or its title, identification or
distinguishing number or serial number or mark, if known, and, if
known, the manner of and reason for such mutilation, change,
alteration, concealment, defacement or substitution, the length of
time such machine or electrical or mechanical device or apparatus or
part has been held, and the price paid therefor, and provided further,
that any and all such verified statements shall be available for
inspection by any interested person.




--- Rhode Island ---

 11-18-23  Defacement or alteration of manufacturer's serial number.

Any person who: (1) willfully removes, defaces, covers, alters, or
destroys the manufacturer's serial number or any other distinguishing
number or identification mark on any machine or any electrical or
mechanical device for the purpose of preventing the detection of a
crime or defrauding the manufacturer or any seller or any purchaser of
the machine or the electrical or mechanical device; or (2) being a
dealer in merchandise or the agent, employee, or representative of a
dealer, knowingly buys, sells, receives, disposes of, conceals, or
knowingly has in his or her possession any machine or any electrical
or mechanical device from which the manufacturer's serial number or
any other distinguishing number or identification mark has been
removed, defaced, covered, altered, or destroyed for a purpose
specified in subdivision (1) of this section, is guilty of a
misdemeanor.




--- South Dakota ---

22-30A-39.   Alteration or removal of serial number--Possession of
property with altered serial number--Felony.

Any person who, without consent of the owner, intentionally alters,
obliterates, or removes a serial number or other identifying mark on
personal property, or possesses any personal property knowing that the
property has a serial number or identifying mark which has been
intentionally obliterated, altered, or removed, which number or
marking may be used to determine ownership of the property, is guilty
of a Class 6 felony.




--- Tennessee ---

39-14-134. Alteration of item's permanent distinguishing numbers -
Sale or possession of such item.

(a)  A person commits a Class A misdemeanor who knowingly and with the
intent to conceal or misrepresent the identity of an item:

(1) Alters, covers, defaces, destroys or removes the permanent serial
number, manufacturer's identification plate or other permanent
distinguishing number from such item; or

(2) Sells, buys or has possession of such item. 




--- Texas ---

 31.11. TAMPERING WITH IDENTIFICATION NUMBERS.

(a) A person commits an offense if the person:
(1)  knowingly or intentionally removes, alters, or 
obliterates the serial number or other permanent identification 
marking on tangible personal property;  or
(2)  possesses, sells, or offers for sale tangible 
personal property and:   
(A)  the actor knows that the serial number or 
other permanent identification marking has been removed, altered, 
or obliterated;  or
(B)  a reasonable person in the position of the 
actor would have known that the serial number or other permanent 
identification marking has been removed, altered, or obliterated.




--- Virginia ---

 18.2-96.1. Identification of certain personalty.

C. It shall be unlawful for any person to remove, alter, deface,
destroy, conceal, or otherwise obscure the manufacturer's serial
number or marks, including personalty marked with a social security
number preceded by the letters "VA," from such personal property or
any part thereof, without the consent of the owner, with intent to
render it or other property unidentifiable.

D. It shall be unlawful for any person to possess such personal
property or any part thereof, without the consent of the owner,
knowing that the manufacturer's serial number or any other
distinguishing identification number or mark, including personalty
marked with a social security number preceded by the letters "VA," has
been removed, altered, defaced, destroyed, concealed, or otherwise
obscured with the intent to violate the provisions of this section.




--- Washington ---

RCW 9A.56.180
Obscuring the identity of a machine.

(1) A person is guilty of obscuring the identity of a machine if he knowingly:

(a) Obscures the manufacturer's serial number or any other
distinguishing identification number or mark upon any vehicle,
machine, engine, apparatus, appliance, or other device with intent to
render it unidentifiable; or

(b) Possesses a vehicle, machine, engine, apparatus, appliance, or
other device held for sale knowing that the serial number or other
identification number or mark has been obscured.

(2) "Obscure" means to remove, deface, cover, alter, destroy, or
otherwise render unidentifiable.

(3) Obscuring the identity of a machine is a gross misdemeanor.


RCW 19.60.066
Prohibited acts -- Penalty.

It is a gross misdemeanor under chapter 9A.20 RCW for:

(1) Any person to remove, alter, or obliterate any manufacturer's
make, model, or serial number, personal identification number, or
identifying marks engraved or etched upon an item of personal property
that was purchased, consigned, or received in pledge. In addition an
item shall not be accepted for pledge or a second-hand purchase where
the manufacturer's make, model, or serial number, personal
identification number, or identifying marks engraved or etched upon an
item of personal property has been removed, altered, or obliterated





Find Law List of State Codes:
http://www.findlaw.com/casecode/state.html

United States Code
http://www.gpoaccess.gov/uscode/index.html
mself2-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Thank you very much!  This is just what I was looking for...

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