Pawn Shops, Cash-for-Gold Stores Pose Problems for Police

It's gotten a lot trickier to recover stolen items in recent years


Back in the day, if someone broke into your house, there was a chance you'd get some of your stuff back.

"Things used to be pawned locally," Safety Director Charles Goss said. "We could run down to Cleveland and look for stolen items."

Now? Good luck.

While true pawn shops are still pretty rare, other businesses have entered the jewelry-buying arena, giving criminals that many more places to sell their goods.

Jewelry is often targeted by burglars because it's both easy to carry and valuable. 

"Now, jewelry stores buy gold and used items," Detective Lt. John Janowski said. "And there are so many places paying cash for gold. It's become hard to track anything down."

Looking High and Low

That doesn't mean Strongsville police have given up the hunt. They regularly touch base with jewelers, cash-for-gold businesses and pawn shops to see if items stolen from homes or cars here have come in.

"It's time consuming," Goss acknowledged. "But we still do it. I see the stacks of faxes that come in from the different businesses when we put out a request."

It's reached a point where police here want the state to start a registry of used-goods dealers so they have a better database of where to look for stolen property.

"We've asked about it, but nothing's happened yet," Janowski said.

And It Gets Worse

Add the Internet to the mix and it becomes a huge challenge to track down fenced merchandise.

"With the birth of Internet trade, it got harder for us," Goss said. "Things can be sold to India as easly as to someone in Ohio."

Police have found stolen items being sold online, and victims monitoring eBay and Craigslist have contacted police to say they've identified their stolen property for sale on a website.

But trying to monitor online sales is a needle-in-a-haystack search.

"At least with local shops, we're in the business of knowing all the businesses that buy and sell," Goss said. "The difficult part is trying to police national trade."

neil gordon November 12, 2012 at 02:02 PM
I might suggest city council to pass a resolution banning Check-into-Cash, and Gold buying shops because of the crime they attract and the type of business they generate. Let them go to Parma or Cleveland.
James Norris November 27, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Surprisingly enough, most of these <a href="http://www.atlanticcashservices.com">cash for gold services in Columbia, MD</a> have been doing a lot of good. I have been very careful with this type of offer because so many are scams, but there are some that really do fulfill.


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