MEDFORD, Ore. — Medford police have cited two employees from All-Star Pawn for not following a city ordinance. The ordinance says all pawn shops must use an online system to report their purchases to police in case the item is stolen.
That online database is known as Leads Online and links police to stolen items being sold at pawn shops.
“Without having the system in place, how would we ever find stolen property?” Sergeant Brent Mak from Medford Police said. “You know what I’m saying, we wouldn’t.”
Leads Online is free and is mandatory for all pawn shops. According to the Division of Finance and Corporate Security report, police recovered a total of 595 stolen items people were trying to sell at pawn shops in Oregon.
“Unfortunately it’s just the nature of the beast,” Sergeant Mak explained. “A lot of stolen property in burglaries and in thefts, the suspect will try to take it to pawn shops and try to get rid of it. It’s the quickest way to convert property into cash.”
Less than 1% of items in pawn shops pop up on Leads Online as stolen, a small number. Pawn shops owners expect more items in their stores are stolen but owners have no way to track down their stolen belongings.
“If the item is stolen and there is no serial number it is extremely difficult to identify that item belonging to that person,” Greg Gritsch from Southern Oregon Pawn commented.
If an item does pop up as stolen on Leads Online, police investigate, often confiscating the item and this can cost pawn shops money. Owners do not have access to Leads Online, they can only enter information. Therefore, they cannot see if the item they are purchasing is stolen.
“There are times when we are a victim, there are times where we attempt to hold things and have the police called to make a determination so we try to do the best we can,” Gritsch added.