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More stolen property ending up in pawn shops: how to get your items back

North Little Rock Police say more stolen property is showing up in pawn shops these days. And they say you need to take action now to get your valuables back if you become a victim.
North Little Rock Police say more stolen property is showing up in pawn shops these days. They also say you need to take action now to get your valuables back if you become a victim.

North Little Rock Police busted one man who's been pawning items all over central Arkansas. Just last month they started following Robert Andrew Long after they saw he was hauling a trailer that was reported stolen. When police pulled Long over they found what they call instruments of crime: bolt cutters and a crowbar, as well as broken locks and several receipts from pawn shops.

"A lot of it has to do with the economy. Nowadays we are getting a lot of people who are either trading the goods that they steal or pawning them at local pawn shops," said Detective John Desizlets with the North Little Rock Police Department. 

Detectives found out Long pawned more than 90 items in the past year, after looking at a database called Leads Online. Every time someone pawns something, pawn shop managers enter their name and a description of the item into the database. It helps police find criminals and link them to other crimes.

"Don't even try because you're going to get caught if you try to pawn it in a legitimate pawn shop," said Tom Thornton of Partners Jewelry and Loan.

Thornton says he does whatever he can to keep stolen property out of his store. When police recover stolen items, pawn shops lose the money they paid for them. And times are tough enough already.

"Sales are down, the economy is bad, and jewelry is a luxury item," said Thornton.

But inevitably, people will try to pass something off as their own. Detectives say when it comes to jewelry you should take a picture of items you want to recover. At the very least write down a description. And for other items like musical instruments or electronics, write down the serial number. That will ensure that if police find it in a pawn shop you'll get it back.

Police initially charged Mr. Long with possesion of instruments of crime. Now they're trying to sort through all the pawn tickets they received to see exactly what may have been stolen and hopefully return those items back to their owners.
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