So there you are, thinking that you want to buy something from a pawn shop and you stop… you look around and ask yourself, ‘Could this be stolen?’
Well, let me tell you right now that this is a pretty irrational fear if you’ve ever wondered it and I’ll tell you why.
You see, back before the 80s, pawn shops may have bought a lot of stolen items and not been aware of it. But in current times, pawn shops report their daily transactions to police departments regularly and anything stolen that comes into a pawn shop will be caught very quickly.
That’s why bad guys don’t like to go into pawn shops to off their stolen stuff. Pawn shops take IDs, and in some cases, fingerprints as well. That’s nothing that a bad guy wants to be associated with when he or she is trying to get money out of something that they stole!
On top of it, pawn shop don’t want to have anything to do with stolen goods themselves. They are well aware of the reputation that their industry endures and despite the fact that it’s not true anymore, people still think that pawn shops exist almost purely as fencing operations for things that people took from others.
How Much Stolen Stuff Comes Into Pawn Shops
With all of this in mind, you might still be wondering just how much of what comes into a pawn shop is stolen. Well, typically speaking, less than 1%. Far less actually.
In the pawn shops that I have contact with, it’s pretty standard for only 0.25% or so of what they buy or loan against to turn out to be stolen. Of that quarter of one percent, most of those items are quickly tracked down and identified to or by law enforcement and returned to their rightful owners with the bad guys – the people that brought the items into the pawn shop to begin with – being put in jail and in some cases, going to prison.
The pawn industry has no tolerance for thieves and their ill-gotten goods. They want no part of the criminal element that looks to deprive people of what they’ve worked so hard for.
That’s why pawn shops work so tightly with law enforcement, to stop this activity and end it before it even begins in many cases.
Of Course, Not Everything Is Perfect
With all of that having been said, of course there are still going to be some occasions where someone will bring something stolen into a pawn shop and they will buy it. It’s almost impossible not to have that happen when you are in the business of being property from the public.
In rare cases, these items may not have been reported to law enforcement and therefore will go unidentified because the victim never told anyone about it.
Eventually those items will be made available for sale by the pawn shop, but the pawn shop isn’t trying to sell something stolen. They aren’t in that business.
So Are Buying Things From Pawn Shops Safe
In this cases, it’s simply an accident on that part of the pawn broker, or an oversight by law enforcement.
As a customer, you’ve got nothing to worry about because all of the applicable laws were followed when the pawn shop bought those items, reported them to law enforcement and then released and made available for purchase by you.
Buying from pawn shops is safe and you can do so without worrying about what you are buying being potentially stolen.