Do Pawnshops Sell Stolen Merchandise?




April 27, 2021

Let's play out a scenario:

All right, so you have some "dubiously acquired"  goods and you need to make some quick cash off of them. Now where can a person like you go to "pawn" his goods and get away with it? Ah, of course! The pawn shop.

To be pawned?

So you walk into the nearest pawn shop, tell the manager you have things to pawn, he checks the condition of everything and then you… wind up in a local police station. Now how did that happen? Well, as it turns out, pawnbrokers don't just buy anything that walks into their store, especially not stolen merchandise. Pawn shops have a tight connection to the police, which means bad news for thieves like you.

Why it doesn’t work

Here's how it works. A person with an item to pawn walks into the store and shows the broker the item. The broker checks the serial number and puts it in a database that the police have access to and can compare to any items that have been reported stolen. If the item is indeed stolen, the police can use that information to track the thief down and cuff him while the stolen item is returned to the original owner. Bad news for you and good news for anyone concerned about their stolen items.

How it really works

As for those of you with legitimately acquired items who would like some quick cash, pawn shops are excellent places for that. After all the paperwork is filled, just give the pawn shop the item and they will give you the money. They keep the item for a certain amount of time (usually 30 days) then you can come and pay to take the item back. If you don't pay for it within that time limit, the pawn shop is then free to sell it to anyone they like.

Rest assured, you won’t be an accomplice in a burgling ring by going into a pawn shop. In fact, you may just get some sweet deals on items that may be too pricey brand new.


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