Pawn Shops and Stolen Goods – What You Need to Know

So, imagine for just a second that you have had your items stolen. Somebody robbed you, and decided that the most sensible way to get rid of the items was to sell them at a pawnshop. How would you know? Would you get them back? Does this actually happen?

The answers are you would, yes, and no. See, it’s a very common trope in films and television, that criminals decide to pawn their ill gotten gains in a pawnshop. Unfortunately, the reality is just a little bit different, and any aspiring criminal should probably know better. However, because you might not know how this process works, let’s take a look.

How Do Purchases Work?

So, let’s assume for a moment that you have your goods stolen and the thief decides the fastest way to sell the product is via a pawn shop.

Well, what will happen is that the thief will be able to make the sale, if only for a few short hours. If you’ve done the right thing and logged a police report, then selling to a pawn shop will be a big mistake.

See, most pawn shops report their purchases to the local authority every day. This means that if your product is sold to a pawn shop, they log it with the local authority and if it is a match, you are notified.

By doing it this way, a good pawn shop makes sure that any items they acquire are lawfully allowed to be kept and stored.

Proper Protocol For Stolen Items

So, if you have reason to believe that something you own is stolen, then there is a certain way to deal with that.

You might think that the easiest thing you can do would be to go to every pawnshop in the area to see if your items have been sold there. However, you should trust the professionals to find them for you, and not do that.

Instead, you should do the sensible thing and register your items as being stolen with the local authority. They will work in conjunction with pawnshops for you.

However, if an item is flagged as being stolen, then it will be taken out of active circulation and held until the authority can get to it. This means that if it is flagged up by a shop, it won’t be resold.


So, when it comes to things like stolen items, it’s important to recognise that pawn shops operate with a certain degree of cooperation regarding the local law. They have a responsibility to register any items that they purchase to make sure that they haven’t been stolen, because it is one of the most common ways that people try and dispose of these things.

Thankfully, it doesn’t work like this, so even if you do encounter a situation where your items have been misplaced by a pawnshop, it’s important to acknowledge that they won’t necessarily be lost forever, as they will be kept back and returned to you once they can establish they are yours.




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