The Spokane-area Pawn Database System helps police identify and find belongings that were stolen and turned over to pawnshops or other stores.
Detectives can search the database by product type, serial number and other features. An owner who’s taken photos, recorded serial numbers or other key identifiers stands a solid chance of recovering lost items.
If detectives can confirm a stolen item is in a shop, a police hold is placed on the item. The item is taken from the store and placed at the police property room to await a legal resolution of criminal charges.
Once prosecutors clear the case, the item is returned to the victim.
Pawnshops typically try to recover the money lent to the person who brought in the item. In many cases, the cost of that restitution is added to the court file.
Spokane County sheriff’s Detective Dan Blashill said some victims don’t care to wait for the court process. “Some choose just to pay the pawnshop themselves to get their TV back,” he said.