Earlier today three men in their upper teens or early twenties came in the shop wanting to sell some electronics. They had a 32″ flat screen TV in fairly good condition, another smaller flat screen TV with half a mount attached to the back and a couple game systems missing most of the plugs and attachments. What would you think? Without hesitation I believed the items had been stolen so I kindly told them that we could not take the items because of the item condition – it is not the best idea to go around telling people you think their stuff is hot. Now I ask myself, was that the right thing to do? The items are probably now being sold to one of five non-regulated stores located within walking distance of our pawn store. When I say non-regulated I mean they are not regulated because they are clothing stores, restaurants, gas stations, etc… We hear all the time “so and so around the corner offered me $100 for this so I’m going there”. If you stand outside and watch you see the transactions taking place. Being non-regulated the stores can turn around and sell the item the next day, we have to wait at least 30 days. Being non-regulated the police have no idea what’s being bought or sold. I am of course angry that we have competition that does not have to follow the same rules but I also have other concerns. I want the criminals off the street as much as anyone else. We DO NOT want to make money on stolen items. Going back to ‘Was that the right thing to do?’ If we had purchased the items the police would have had a complete report on all the items including serial numbers, model numbers and description, we send this report nightly. The police would have also had the name, address, social security number, description and drivers license number taken directly off of the subjects ID’s, also sent nightly in the report. We also keep very nice video footage. Years ago the police would ask us to take the items in even if we thought they were stolen so that the they would have something to work with and the victim would have a chance of finding their stolen belongings. Now if we take the item in not only are we out the money we gave but the statistics of how many items are confiscated from us is used against us. There are other states that have funds set aside to reimburse pawnshop owners when items that are purchased help prosecute the criminals. Other states, at the least, help the pawnshops to recoup their losses from the criminal by filing for restitution.
To sum up my rambles I have two things to say;
1) If you are in law enforcement or the local government please know that we want to help.
2) If you are a criminal then know if you bring a stolen item to Top Dollar Pawnbrokers we are either going to turn you away or we will make sure that you are caught and prosecuted.