Technology, pawn shops help close cases

 from: http://www.gazette.net/stories/03032010/damanew215305_32556.php

Technology, pawn shops help close cases

County police use 'hits' from stores to make arrests

by Andre L. Taylor | Staff Writer

Pawn shops, with their quick payouts and underpriced secondhand items, are attractive to thieves looking to get rid of stolen items.

They are also a key component in solving robbery and burglary cases. Montgomery County Assistant State's Attorney Stephen Chaikin said he has relied on information from pawn shops to prosecute suspects in 25 cases in the last year.

"It's almost like a starting place" to find suspects, since they have to use picture identification when pawning items, Chaikin said. "That's the clue that we need. If that person isn't the stealer, they may know who is."

Most pawn shops use computer technology to record and report all transactions. Dallas-based LeadsOnline sells subscriptions to their Web site nationally to law enforcement agencies to track down stolen items.

Famous Pawn in Germantown reports all daily transactions to LeadsOnline and works closely with Montgomery County police, said Rick Wessel, chief executive officer of Dallas-based First Cash Financial Services, which owns the pawn shop. An iPod sold to the pawn shop in January led to the arrest of a Germantown man wanted for two thefts.

Information from pawn shops is being used in five current cases Chaikin is prosecuting, he said.

Chaikin credits information from a pawn shop in Frederick for helping to prosecute Jayson Mosley, 24, of Germantown. Mosley and four other men went to Frederick to pawn a stolen laptop, but when police showed up, Mosley ran and police arrested the four men with him. The four men said Mosley stole the laptop and he was arrested in Rockville days later. Mosley now faces 27 years in prison for several burglaries. Mosley was convicted in January offelony theft scheme and will be sentenced March 11.

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