Can A Pawn Shop Keep Stolen Property – ANSWERED!

Brian McCracken


So here’s a very interesting question that I bet gets asked all the time and yet is completely misunderstood by the general public.
What we have here is whether or not a pawn shop can keep stolen property once it has been identified as having possibly been stolen to begin with.
This is really going to surprise a lot of people and I know it but yes, in some cases a pawn shop can in fact keep stolen property once that property has been determined to be stolen.
I know, that’s probably a bit surprising to some people, particularly if you are someone that has had something stolen from you and that you think might be in a pawn shop right now.
You see this is something that is determined in part by state law.
Some states may not have these kinds of laws on the books, but for instance I know that Ohio does.
You see in states like Ohio, criminal courts do not assign the ownership of property. It is instead the civil courts that determine who owns what property.
This is a very confusing situation for a lot of people, including many police departments and police officers in states like Ohio even that may not be familiar with the law.
Normally when something is stolen and found the Police Department will just confiscate that item, and if they don’t need to retain it for property for evidence they will return it to the original owner.
But when it comes to pawn shops, things are just a little different.
This is a situation that may surprise many people but, yes, pawn shops can indeed keep stolen property in many states until a civil court says otherwise.
Pawn Shops Are Licensed Buyers Of Used Merchandise
You see this isn’t like when somebody just happens to be walking down the street and sells you something.
That is a private transaction between you and that individual that nobody really knows or has knowledge of.
But when it comes to a pawnshop, this is their business. This is what pawnshops do day in and day out almost every day of every year.
Now, everyone understands the pawnshops do this but what people don’t know is that they also have to be licensed by their state in order to conduct that kind of business.
It’s this licensing to operate this business that creates a degree of confusion.
Being in the business of buying and selling use goods puts pawnshops in a certain area that gives them right to property that they buy in good faith.
On top of it they have specific documentation showing exactly what their financial investment in that property was, who sold it to him, and that individuals specific information.
But That Can’T They Be Charged With Receiving Stolen Property
Here again is an interesting area that pawn shops operate within under the law.
Because they are licensed to deal and used for secondhand goods pawnshops are often exempt from these receiving stolen property charges.
On top of that pawnshop scan demonstrate exactly who sold them the merchandise, which also gives them another avenue out of the receiving stolen property charges should a Police Department prosecutor daring enough to try and file them against the pawn shop to begin with.
So What Does This All Mean For You
Well in the states that have the laws that entitle pawnshops to retain ownership of those goods until a civil court says otherwise, you really only have two options.
The first option is that you can attempt to sue the pawn shop in civil court to get your merchandise back.
Now this really isn’t going to work out very well for you most of the time.
Sure you may end up getting a merchandise back, but I can almost guarantee you that will cost a lot more to do that than it would to just buy the items back from the pawn shop for whatever the pawnshop happens to have spent on them.
That of course brings us to the second option.
That is just to pay the pawn shop back whatever dollar amount they have invested into the merchandise that may be yours.
Often times the pawnshop will immediately returned items to you with no other steps or actions necessary.
This is often the best way to resolve a conflict where you are unsure if a pawn shop can keep stolen property and what exactly you should do about it.