Items at Pawn Shop Lead City to Stolen Goods
RIO HONDO – Thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment stolen from the city of Rio Hondo were tracked down. Police found one of the items at a pawn shop miles away.
Rio Hondo Police Chief William Bilokury says these thefts have been going on for a while,
"This defiantly hurts the city, every dollar counts," said Bilokury.
Roughly $25,000 worth of power tools and other equipment were stolen from the city.
"These are tools that are bought and paid for by taxpayer money from a city that's already experiencing budget difficulties due to the bridge and downtown improvement and everything else," said Bilokury.
One of the stolen items turned up in a nearby pawn shop in San Benito. Thanks to the pawn shop records police were able to track down one of the thieves.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS wanted to know the processes pawn shops take when buying items so we stopped La Piedad in Pharr.
"When we buy the merchandise we have to hold it for 21 days before we put it out for sale," said store owner Jorge Espino.
Espino said all pawn shops in the state are regulated by the Office of Consumer Credit Commissioner.
When someone goes to a pawn shop to sell they must have a legal ID. Shops also keep track of all serial numbers of every item they buy.
"We are also required to be online with local police departments as soon as we punch in the serial numbers the cops will have the information," said Espino.
If an item stolen from you winds up at a pawn shop, recovery it always isn't easy.
Bilokury explains, "If I lose my stapler for instance how do I know it's my stapler. In this company's desire to turn a profit they made more than one so what's going to make that item unique."
He says you need to prove to police without a doubt the item is, in fact, yours, this means more than just a copy of the serial number.
Bilokury recommends people put a unique marking on their high dollar items in a location someone wouldn't think to look; doing this can help prove the item is in fact yours.
Bilokury also said if you find one of your items in a pawn shop you will need to contact the police department in the area where the item was originally stolen.