Pawn shop moves to help catch ‘bad guys’
June 14, 2007
In a move that could change the results of theft investigations, one Carson City pawn shop has agreed to provide an electronic copy of its daily pawn receipts to the Carson City Sheriff’s Department.
“We can immediately check pawned property for stolen property,” said Undersheriff Steve Albertsen.
As mandated by state law, all five of the pawn shops in the city are required to give a copy of their daily receipts to the sheriff’s department, and they do that in the form of paper copies, Albertsen said.
But SuperPawn, on Highway 50 East, took that idea one step further and will send its records electronically in a format for easy input into sheriff’s department computers.
Albertsen said the department receives up to 1,000 paper pawn receipts per week and then it’s up to the department’s employees to manually input the information into a database that can be cross-referenced in the event of a theft.
With such a large number of receipts, there is a backlog of months, Albertsen said.
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He said SuperPawn’s electronic reporting should eliminate any delay in processing.
Joe Ledworowski, market manager for Northern Nevada SuperPawn, said the electronic transfer of the data saves everyone time and money.
“If someone’s goods are pawned, those goods aren’t going to be out on the (shop) floor for the 120 days,” he said. “The beauty of this system is that the items will be found immediately. The information is right there in the format the police department needs.”
Ledworowski said less than one-tenth of one percent of his entire business involves the pawning of stolen merchandise.
“We go out of our way to make sure we do not take any stolen merchandise. We will pass on a loan if we suspect an item is stolen,” he said. “If someone brings in a musical instrument, they are going to have to play it. If they bring in a video recorder, they will have to show me how to use it.”
But despite those safeguards, Ledworowski admits that some thieves will use pawn shops to fence their stolen loot.
“We don’t like the bad guys either, we want to keep the bad guys out of our store,” he said.
With electronic receipts sent daily, Ledworowski said, if an identifiable item is stolen Monday and pawned Monday night, the deputy who takes the theft report on Tuesday can immediately input the item into the system and see if it’s at SuperPawn.
“It’s going to be an efficient program and will save a lot of time,” said Albertsen. “We are hoping that the other pawn shops in town will follow suit.”
• Contact reporter F.T. Norton at email@example.com or 881-1213.