Woody1150 wrote:I've always been curious if pawn shops have some sort of protection against receiving stolen property? I know for a fact in my area, there are people that take stolen items to pawn shops for cash all the time. I know there a lot of things that would be hard to determine if it is stolen or not. So if someone were to come into a shop and claim an item was theirs that was stolen (and could some how prove it) would the shop be held responsible or do they have some type of insurance for something like that?
There are wonderful systems in place that involve working directly with the police. Nothing can really be done without an official police report beyond maybe keeping our eyes open though. This is mainly because false claims have been made to screw people over. For example, a couple divorces and they agree that person A should get the ps3. If person B gets really ticked at person A for whatever reason and happened to know that person A had taken the ps3 to the shop, they could go to the shop and try to claim that it was stolen in order to get person A into a whole lot of trouble. By having to report it to the police first, a whole lot more accountability has to be brought on person B's shoulders.
Work with the police though, and ask them about checking local pawn shops. The officers we had that worked with our shop were pretty cool people who did their jobs well. Once the item is identified as belonging to the individual making the claim, it gets ear-marked and the person who had brought it in is black-listed from every shop within the company. Sometimes, depending on how bad the descrepency was, other shops would be notified as well. Even in this competitive market, most owners are aware of the dark shadow that haunts them because of how easily people have gotten away with it in the past. The last thing they want is to push people further away because the shop down the street happened to take in stolen goods and didn't return them. Of course, things slip through the cracks since no system is perfect. The shop I worked for though did everything they could within law and regulations to get items back to their rightful owners. And then you have the smaller shops who don't have a huge corporate breathing down their neck to make sure everything's golden and there's no ammunition for any smear compaigns from competitors >.<
Oh, almost forgot. If for whatever reason you're unable to get a police report through, but you have the information for the individual item, ask to speak with the manager. The calmer and more understanding you are, the more the manager will bend over backwards to try to work with you. Explain the situation, give as much information as you can. Every time someone did this with one of our managers, he would make a note on the item in the computer system, and when the item was pulled, the person would be called and could come in and buy it back for a lot less than we'd normally price it for.
Please remember though, not all pawn shops are alike. I'm drawing from personal experience in one shop in one area from one company in one state. So things might be a bit different where you are. If you happen to come across a shop and it's slow, always feel welcome to ask them as well. I was always thrilled to answer questions like this while working there
Useful Tidbit: A lot of shops will have this great pamphlet that allows you to store all the information you could possibly need for your more expensive items, as well as any pictures you might have of the items. If you have any expensive electronics, please please be sure to get down the make, model, and serial number. Most pawn shops with any form of credibility require all three to buy or loan on an electronic. Any unusual markings help as well, such as dents or scrapes. For jewelry, I recommend pictures from different angles, then have it weighed and the karat verified. As with anything else, any unusual markers help as well. These can be kept in your safety deposit boxes in the case of a fire, flood, robbery, etc. They're wonderful when dealing with the police, insurance companies, and yes, even pawn shop owners.