Investigative Services Division

Economic & Property Crimes Unit - Questions & Answers about Stolen Property


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Pawn Shop Detail Q & A on Stolen Property

  • My property was stolen. Should I go to the pawnshops looking for my property?
    • According to Pawnbroker and Secondhand dealer laws, all tangible personal property bought by the pawnshop or secondhand dealer shall be held for a period of 30 days. That means if your property was recently stolen and taken to a pawnshop, it cannot be resold or disposed of until the 30 days are up or it is released by the Police Department. Furthermore, when the 30 day hold period is up, the pawnshop is under no obligation to display these items in their shop. Many shops sell items to other shops, place them on e-bay or melt them down.

      If you locate your property in a pawnshop or secondhand shop, the shop will not release any information to you due to privacy laws. The shop is under no obligation to tell you how the item was obtained, who pawned or sold the item or when the item came in. They do not have to answer your questions.

      If you do locate your property at a pawnshop or secondhand dealer shop, you should contact the Police Department's Pawn Detail immediately for assistance.

  • What can I do if a family member pawned my property?
    • This depends on if you, the victim, want to prosecute. If you genuinely want prosecution, then you would need to file a police report naming your family member as the suspect. If you choose not to prosecute, then you can wait until the 30 day waiting period is over and then make arrangements with the pawnshop to purchase the item back at retail value.

  • I rented out my property and now they have pawned it. What can I do?
    • If there was a verbal or written agreement, this becomes a civil issue. Even if the written contract specifically prohibits the pawning of the item, this does not make it a criminal issue. It continues to be a civil issue which would need to be taken to civil court.

  • My property was stolen a while back. I just located the serial numbers to my stolen property. Is it too late to turn them in?
    • No, it is not too late. If the original officer who took your report gave you a property sheet, complete the property sheet - being as detailed as possible including the serial number, initials and inscriptions. Attach photos of stolen jewelry if possible. You can mail in your property sheet or bring it down to the Police Department. If you don't have a property sheet, download the form here. Or you can come to the Police Department and fill it out here. If your property is serialized and you have the serial number, the Police Department will enter your serial number into a nationwide computer system.

  • If my jewelry was stolen, can it end up in a pawnshop? Is there a way to track and recover jewelry?
    • Yes, there is always a possibility that your item can end up at a pawnshop but pawnshops receive less than one-tenth of one percent of reported stolen items. If the item is very common, meaning it has no distinguishing marks such as inscriptions, initials, dates, serial numbers or markings, it often cannot be recovered because there is no way to positively identify it.

      If the item has unique identifying marks or is a unique item, there is a greater chance of recovery.

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