Contrary to popular belief, pawn shops hardly ever end up with stolen goods
For some reason, many people wrongly associate pawn shops with the underbelly of society and assume that our shops are full of stolen goods. The truth is, experienced criminals never take stolen items to pawnshops. In fact, according to the National Pawnbrokers Association, less than 0.5 percent of all pawned merchandise is ever identified as stolen.
Why Smart Thieves Don’t Visit Pawn Shops
Pawn shops like South Bay Jewelry & Loan exist to help law-abiding individuals get fast cash to cover immediate needs. It would compromise our mission and our values to deal with criminals. Fortunately, very few thieves ever visit pawn shops. If they do, they are likely to get caught. Pawnshops are closely regulated by the authorities and the following protections are in place to help ensure we are always dealing with honest individuals:
- We require a valid ID from all customers
- We require proof of ownership/authenticity for big-ticket items
- We report all items bought or accepted as collateral to the police as required by law
Smart criminals are fully aware of these precautions and so they do not come to our store. However, we do occasionally get a visit from more inexperienced thieves, including children, roommates, babysitters, and other individuals with easy access to valuables and no scruples about violating the trust of their personal relationships. The good news is that if you are victim of this type of robbery and the thief does sell the items to a pawn shop, you may be able to locate your belongings and get them back.
What to Do If You’ve Been Robbed
If you have been a victim of a theft or robbery, following these steps will give you the best possible chance of recovering your items.
- Compile a list of your missing items. Include serial numbers, photos, and other descriptive info.
- File a police report. Be sure to provide the details about what was stolen as well as descriptions of any suspects.
- Visit local pawn shops with a description of your items and your police case number. If you suspect a particular individual like a roommate or relative, bring a photo or description of them too. While transactions are confidential, local pawnbrokers can at least tell you if they have seen your items already and/or keep an eye out for them in the future.
- Check other resale shops like eBay, Craigslist, second hand stores, flea markets, etc. These are much more common destinations for stolen merchandise than a pawns shop.
- Notify the police if you find any leads. They can then get full disclosure of the transactions related to your items and hopefully find the culprit as well.
Inventory Your Valuables Now!
If you don’t have detailed information about your valuables, it will be all but impossible to get them back after a theft. Take the time to inventory your jewelry, watches, musical instruments, electronics, etc. now. Record the serial numbers and take photos and put this information in a safe place. Hopefully you will never need them, but better safe than sorry!