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News

Pawn shop database leads to recovery of stolen items

Leadsonline : 10 September, 2009  (New Product)
US police and law enforcement divisions have new tool in the form of a national database linking police stolen items to data entered in pawn shops including descriptions and serial numbers
A rifle stolen more than 40 years ago was recently returned to its owner, thanks to a diligent detective in the King County Sheriff's Office who located the firearm by utilizing an online database that tracks items sold to pawn shops.

Detective Robert Inn, a criminal investigator, ran a search through LeadsOnline with the serial numbers of stolen items reported to the Sheriff's Office over the years. When matches popped up for a variety of items he was searching for, one in particular caught Inn's attention. 'The first two numbers in our case numbers indicate the year of the report,' Inn explains. 'And this report has six and nine as the first two numbers, so that means it was a case from 1969. I thought it was a mistake, but it wasn't.'

As Detective Inn gathered more information, Inn discovered that the Winchester bolt-action rifle was stolen during a home invasion in 1969. Three juveniles were caught and confessed to the crime, but not all of the stolen property was recovered at the time. Most likely, the thieves had immediately pawned the rifle. At some point over the years, it was sold at a gun show to a Seattle-area gun collector who then willed it to his grandson. The grandson recently sold the rifle to a Seattle-area pawn shop.

Law enforcement and pawn shops use the LeadsOnline database to track items sold to pawn shops by entering descriptions and serial numbers into the system. LeadsOnline also captures the seller's information. Because the system has nationwide search capabilities, is real-time and can also search NCIC records, detectives can instantly recover stolen property…no matter when or where they were sold.

'Without LeadsOnline, we wouldn't have recovered this item,' Detective Inn says. He was then able to track down the original owner and, after the required background checks and such (the rifle was never used in a crime), was able to return the rifle, which was still in very good condition, even after all these years.

LeadsOnline is the nation's largest online investigative system used by more than 3,000 law enforcement agencies to recover stolen property and solve crimes. Each day, millions of items are added to the LeadsOnline database by businesses including second-hand stores, scrap metal recyclers, pawnshops, and Internet drop-off stores across all 50 states. Those records are instantly available to law enforcement agencies, meaning crimes can be solved in seconds, not months. The LeadsOnline system, compatible with the NCIC, serves as an indispensible, efficient, and money-saving resource for detectives because it provides a cross-jurisdictional, instantaneous, and accurate database that stops criminals from escaping detection by selling stolen items in another city. An official eBay partner, LeadsOnline helps prevent illegal transactions on the eBay website by giving law enforcement access to the world's largest online marketplace through automatic upload of all eBay transactions into the LeadsOnline database. LeadsOnline also includes LeadsOnlabs, a system for tracking those involved in the illegal manufacture of methamphetamines; a Metal Theft Investigation System designed to track copper and other metal thefts; and cross-checks names of pawn customers against the OFAC SDN list of known terrorists and narcotics traffickers. Each year, LeadsOnline is credited with recovering millions of dollars in stolen goods and solving thousands of crimes that are often associated with bigger crimes, such as homicide, identity theft, and arson. Based in Dallas and led by President and CEO Dave Finley, LeadsOnline works with thousands of agencies throughout the country, including the New York Police Department, the Dallas Police Department, and the San Francisco Police Department.
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