So there you are, you’ve come back to your house or your car just to discover that it has been broken into.
First move: look around and see if you notice anything strange (like someone running down the street with your stuff.)
Second move: call the police and make a police report. Be as detailed as you can be.
It’s at this point that you might be thinking “Oh god, where’s my stuff? Will I ever get it back? Who has it?”
At that point, it will probably dawn on you that it might be a good idea to notify the local pawn shops about the theft.
That way, they can be on the lookout for your items should someone try to come in with them, right?
That’s normally how it works, but what stops a lot of people is when they asked themselves “How do I report stolen items to pawn shops?”
Well, let me tell you, I get this question… a lot.
Aren’t Pawn Shops Where Stolen Items End Up
In many ways, I understand why someone would automatically think that their items are hiding in some deep, dark corner of a pawn shop someplace.
That having been said, in reality, it normally couldn’t be any further from the truth.
The image that the public has historically held of pawn shops being the place that bad guys go to unload their ill-gotten goods.
But I have a bit of a newsflash for you. Bad guys don’t want to sell their items someplace that will demand to take and copy information from their ID, and maybe even fingerprint them in some cases.
Pawn Shops Today Aren’t What They Were Thirty Years Ago
In the past, it would have been hard for police departments and pawn shops to communicate with each other every day on what has been reported stolen, or what the pawn shop has taken in.
These days however, it’s just an email away. When the police know something is taken, it’s not uncommon for them to email the local pawn shops.
But this communication goes both ways.
Typically speaking, pawn shops have to report their daily transactions to law enforcement so that they can review them for potentially stolen items.
It’s for these reasons that bad guys who bring stolen things into pawn shops get caught so quickly these days… and they know it!
That’s why pawn shops aren’t where the thieves go to unload their stolen goods anymore. Well, at least not as often as they had in the past.
Now they have Craigslist, eBay, Amazon and so many other options to anonymously unload goods that they don’t want anyone else knowing about.
Of course, I can’t tell you that stolen things next show up in pawn shops.
No matter how diligent the pawn shop and police departments are, stolen things still occasionally end up coming through the doors of pawn shops and end up on their inventory shelfs.
But make no mistake, most Americans are re-discovering pawn shops for the brightly lite, friendly, and customer service oriented businesses that they are today.
They understand that no matter how hard they try; they will accidentally buy or loan on something that didn’t belong to the person who brought it in.
For that reason, pawn shops are normally very happy to talk to you about what you’ve recently had taken, and if it should come in, help you get it back.
But there is a right and a wrong way to do this. Let’s talk about that.
The Wrong Way To Report Stolen Goods To Pawn Shops
Normally when people are reporting stolen goods to pawn shop, they go about it the wrong way.
They want to know something like if “Any gold rings were brought in over the past 5 days?”
Pawn shops might see 100-1000 gold rings a day, so that does no good.
Additionally, a pawn shop can’t tell you what they took in that day, or whom from. That’s strictly for law enforcement, whose job it is to investigate the crimes.
Likewise, the other thing people will often ask to do is to actually “Look through” everything a pawn shop has taken in during the day.
Even in the states where the law regarding what police departments can and can’t do are extremely pro law-enforcement, in most cases, still even then, a police officer can’t just walk through the aisles of a pawn shops storage area and browse.
So, whatever you do, don’t demand things from pawn shops and don’t be vague. It will just make them less understanding of your situation and doesn’t do you a single bit of good.
The Right Way To Report Stolen Goods To Pawn Shops
Now that we’ve discussed the wrong way to report stolen goods to pawn shops, let’s talk about the right way.
As previously discussed, when you discover that something has been taken from you, look around to see if you notice anything obvious. Then, call the police and make a report.
Get the report number and the officer’s name who made out the report for you.
At this point, if it was something with a model and serial number, try to get that information together. If it was jewelry, locate any appraisals you may have for the items as they will describe the item’s size, weight, the size and clarity of any diamonds in it, etc.
All of these details are critical.
Then, once you have that information, start calling pawn shops unless the police department has told you not to for whatever reason.
Be polite and let them know that something has been taken from you and describe the items as accurately as possible.
If you use vague descriptions, the chances of them locating it, even if it did come in, are very low. Remember the example above of “Have you had any gold rings come in today?”
They see hundreds, and maybe even thousands of them since yours went missing – so be specific!
In a few days, there will be a publicly available copy of your police report that you can get at the department.
You will want to make a dozen copies (or more) of it and then go around to the pawn shops and distribute it.
That way, if something on that report does come in and the pawn shop can identify it, they know what officer they need to speak to. Additionally, they know the circumstances of the report and any suspects that may be listed on it – which can be really helpful in catching someone who comes in with something they shouldn’t have.
If you do these things, the chances of you recovering your items should they happen to come in will be much higher.