What happens if a pawn shop buys stolen property?

What happens if a pawn shop buys stolen property?

Picture this… Someone breaks into your house and steals your TV and a week later you see it in your local pawn shop. You obviously want it back. Must the pawnshop give it back to you free of charge? Sell it back to you for what they paid for it, or should they be able to sell it back to you based on an agreement the two of you come to?

We're going to look at what the different scenarios are when it comes to stolen property at a pawn shop and what can be done about it. Pawnshops are just like any other small business. They are in business after all to make money.

And just like any other industry, they have a set of laws and regulations. Pawnshops are required to report to the police when suspected stolen goods are brought in. There is an unfortunate stereotype that pawnshops will accept everything and anything, even if
it's stolen.

This statement can not be further from the truth. Reputable pawnbrokers would never
accept stolen goods. Pawnbrokers pride themselves on running ethical businesses.

They believe in operating with integrity and if they can help it, will never accept an item that is stolen. Various measures have been put in place to not only protect the pawnbroker but the customer too. It is imperative that all pawnbrokers can detect stolen items as and when they receive them.

Let's take a closer look at what these measures are.

Suspicious behavior

Pawnbrokers have a 5th sense when it comes to suspicious behavior. There are always tell-tale signs that give away when something just isn't right. If the person does not know how long they have had the item or where they got it from, this is immediately a red flag.

Behavioral cues such as fidgeting or impatience are also a sign that the person could be lying.

Signs of the item being tampered with

Pawnbrokers are trained to identify signs of tampering in stolen goods. Things such as scratches or marks that wouldn't normally be there for regular wear and tear. A piece of the item that has been cut off or sanded off is a massive tell-tale sign that the item is stolen.

Police reports

One of the easiest ways for a pawnbroker to check if an item is stolen is to check the serial
number of the item against the recently reported stolen items issued by the police. These reports are made available to pawnbrokers for this exact reason. If a pawnbroker identifies that the item has been stolen, they may choose to take it in any way and then immediately inform the police.

As pawning an item required the person to produce identification, this can be used to prosecute the person in the end. 

What will a pawnbroker do if he suspects items are stolen?

No law says that a pawnbroker must accept and pay over money for every item that comes
through to his store. If the customer fails to produce identification, then the pawnshop can
rightfully refuse the sale. If a pawnshop owner suspects an item to be stolen, they need to call the police immediately.

This could help the police arrest the suspect in question and return the item to its rightful owner.

What are the chances of getting my stolen back from a pawn shop?

In most cases, you will be able to get your item back without having to pay the pawnbroker for it. On the rare occasion, you might need to pay the pawnshop what he paid for it, it just depends on the laws and regulations at the time.

What do I do if I see my stolen item in my local pawn shop?

Provided that you have already notified the police of your stolen item and have a case number, call the police and let them know you have found your item. Try to get as many pictures as possible of the item, proof of purchase, and other documentation that can prove you are the rightful owner. Once the police have been notified they will handle the situation from there and be able to return your stolen item to you.

Today pawnbrokers have many ways in which they can tell if something that has been brought in was stolen. They will never accept any item they suspect has been stolen. However, sometimes thieves can outsmart pawnbrokers so if you have recently been victim to one of your items being stolen, it wouldn't hurt to check your local pawn shop to make sure it didn't land up there.

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