First of all, let me just say that if you have had something stolen, then I understand exactly what you are going through.
Particularly if this was something taken from your home, and by someone who you think might be a family member and that you trusted.
Obviously, working in pawn shops, I do here stories about grandsons and granddaughters taking their grandparents jewelry, or their parents… or having friends over that may have taken it.
It’s just a problem that is grown all too common these days.
The feeling of violation after having something taken from you home is horrible. Especially if you think it was family.
And even if it wasn’t family, but someone just broke into your home and stole a bunch of jewelry, the feelings don’t get much better.
Those same feelings of violation and outrage still come up and it’s completely understandable.
Unfortunately for pawn shops, they are in the business of buying goods from the public and because of that, occasionally stolen items may end up in their stores.
That having been said, today’s pawn shops are different from what the pawn industry may have been 50 years ago.
Today, pawn shops have completely automated systems of reporting transaction to law enforcement in most states and in others, they file regular paperwork with their local law enforcement officials so that the police know exactly what is coming into a pawn shop on a regular basis and can cross-reference that with stolen property reports.
Pawnbrokers are very conscious of the reputation that pawn shops have had over the years as being someplace that bad guys go to do business, but in the past 20 or 30 years, that has all seriously changed.
Today’s pawn shops work very closely with their local law enforcement officials in many situations and they are very serious about trying to keep stolen items out of their stores, by any means necessary.
So let’s talk about how you can find out if some stolen jewelry has ended up in your local pawn shop.
How To Check With Pawn Shops For Stolen Jewelry
Okay, when it comes to checking with you local pawn shops to see if some items have been turned in recently, there are some things that you can do to seriously help yourself in this pursuit.
What you should have already done is made a police report with your local law enforcement agency. You will then want to get a physical copy of that report as soon as it is available. That normally takes 3-5 days with most departments.
You will then want to go to your local pawn shops with:
- A copy of the police report that they can keep. – This is important. Not all pawn shops have copy machines, so have a copy available for them to retain. This is help them keep an eye out for your tiems if they haven’t already come into that pawn shop or haven’t already been sold elsewhere. Simply having the report number isn’t enough – get a physical paper copy of the report and make copies of it to distribute to local pawn shops. That way, if something does come in, they know what agency and officer they are calling specifically as well as exactly what report to pertains to.
- The names and information of anything that you might think could have taken the items. – Pawn shops see a lot of jewelry. If you can give them an item of who may have brought your items in, they are normally able to look up that specific person by name and see if they have done any transaction with their stores recently. This is greatly increase the odds of you getting your items back should they be taken to a local pawn shop.
- A detailed description of the items that are missing. – As mentioned above, pawn shops see a lot of jewelry. Simply describing something as a “Yellow gold ring with 3 round diamonds” won’t help them much if they see 50 rings that match that description every day (and they probably do.) Your best option is to make a copy of your appraisal for your jewelry and take that with you, including it with the copy of the police report that you provide them. That way they know exactly what karat the metal is, how much it weighs, the size, quality and quantity of the stones, etc.
- An approximate date of when the items turned up missing. – If you can give the pawn shop a date range that you noticed the items first went missing, it can help track down any transactions in that range that may have involved your items. Typically speaking, the more recent the theft, the more likely that a pawn shop might be able to track it down and get you the items back should they have come into their stores. As more time goes by, it will be much harder for the pawn shop to attempt to locate the items if they came in, should they even still be in the store to begin with.
If you provide your local pawn shops with this information, there is a much higher likelihood that your items will be recovered and returned to you.
But Isn’t This The Job Of Police Departments
I understand why you might first think that this should be something that the department you made the report with should be doing – and sometimes they do.
However, sometimes, they are simply too busy to try to track down every item that is reported stolen with local pawn shops. If you live in a state where all of the transactions are reported electronically, they may be able to do a quick search for them, but there’s no guarantee that they will be able to turn up everything.
By going to the pawn shop yourself, you are identifying yourself as a person with a real problem to the people that work there. Additionally, when police department’s search, they are only looking at previous transactions but by giving a copy of the report to the pawn shops yourself, they can be on lookout for items as they continue to come in moving forward.
Ultimately, going to the pawn shops and speaking nicely with them will get you much further than just hoping that the police department digs it up somehow.