Pawnbrokers; NOT a criminals best friend

From Heartland Connection Dot Com

By Ela Soroka

KIRKSVILLE, MO. — For Thursday’s Facebook Story of the Day, the majority of you wanted to know what the rules are for pawn shops regarding checking the legality of items pawned.

According to the owner of Double B Pawn & Jewelry in Kirksville, Bob Jones, there are several things they must do before purchasing an item from someone.

“First of all, they have to sign paperwork stating that the item is theirs and they have the right to sell it,” said Jones. “On a form we fill out their personal information including name, driver’s license/ID number, height, weight, color of their hair and eyes and their address. We then make a copy of their identification card and attach that to the paperwork. From there it’s recorded into a data base.”

In order to help keep track of the items purchased, pawn shop owners must also record all their transactions in a national data base.

“In the state of Missouri, pawn shops are the only buy-sell kind of business regulated by the state where we have to record all information on the seller and the item being purchased, and then we have to download that information within 24 hours into a national data base,” said Jones. “Police and sheriff’s offices can then go into that data base and check case numbers against serial numbers to see if an item was reported stolen.”

So what happens if an individual comes into a pawn shops to see if that store has an item of theirs that was stolen? According to Jones they are not allowed to disclose information on the individual that pawned the item.

“We’re a lending institution just like banks so we are governed by federal law and state law which have the right to privacy act, and we can’t divulge any of our activity to an individual,” said Jones. “However, the police or sheriff’s office can come in and check those records on a daily basis if they need to. But we can not divulge anyone’s transactions as far as purchases or pawns to a private individual by law.”

According to a survey that was done a few years ago, less than one-tenth of 1% of stolen items go through pawn shops because there is a paper trail.

“Thieves don’t like that,” said Jones. “They rather go some place where there’s not a paper trail and sell that item. For example, places that buy gold and silver, some stores melt everything on a weekly basis so once that’s done, it’s gone and there’s no record on who brought it in.”

So what happens if an item a pawn shop purchased turns up stolen? According to Jones, they will take legal action against the person that pawned it.

“We do prosecute to the fullest extent of the law and we have done that before when we found that we’ve had stolen merchandise,” said Jones. “We’re not afraid to do that. We like to see those people off the streets anyway.”

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4 Responses to “Pawnbrokers; NOT a criminals best friend”

  1. Belinda lazarony says:

    I believe that someone stole an expensive piece of jewelry from me. That person suspiciously came into some money around the same time. How can I find out if this particular person has utilized a pawn shop to pawn my jewelry?

  2. admin says:

    Belinda, The action you should take is to file a personal property theft report with your local police department describing the missing jewelry and also the person you suspect of taking it. This is because pawnshops report all pawn and purchase transactions to local law enforcement with a complete description of the property pawned or purchased and the name and address of the person conducting the business. All pawnbrokers require government issued identification to transact business with their customers. Pawnbrokers share this information with law enforcement in hopes of cutting down on illegal activities. But because of state and federal privacy laws the pawn shops in your area can not share this information with you. Good luck, Steve Krupnik

  3. Terrific post. Thanks.

  4. Bernice says:

    Rather than just the serial number I wish that the Poole could search by the name as well, or at least add a system where if you knew the name of the one who stolen your property they could get an alert not to buy from them. Too often have I heard stories of a boyfriend, girlfriend, angry exspouse or roommate breaking in or stealing and pawning a person’s possessions.

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Copyright © 2009 - Stephen Krupnik - All Rights Reserved
Pawnonomics by Stephen Krupnik tells the infamous history of the pawn broking industry and shines a bright light into
its darkest corners, while also pointing out some pinnacles along the way.