We all want to assume that our belongings are safe, however the reality anymore is that being prepared for the potential of theft is far better than being ignorant to it.
We recently have had a few more encounters with people who have lost merchandise due to theft. It is sad that this happens, but even more difficult to avoid that snicker when people don’t even know what they lost. In the Pawn Industry, we literally see HUNDREDS of items in a day. “Yes, we understand that you lost your nail gun and we want to help you find it and catch the people who stole it. Can you tell me the manufacturer?” People often answer this question with “I don’t know… it was Red, or maybe Orange. Can’t you just call me when anyone brings one in?”
Please don’t feel offended if we begin to laugh, it is NOT funny. This just happens to be the response to people who really don’t understand the best way to go about protecting themselves. We report to the Police Department every day and are doing our best to prevent trafficking of stolen property and theft in general. This is part of YOUR defense network that WE provide. Look out for yourself too.
So… Here you go:
1) If anything means something to you, keep a log of what it is. If you own a TV and may miss it if it is stolen, write down the SERIAL NUMBER and MODEL NUMBER, along with EVERYTHING ELSE that you would want back, in a lil book and keep it at work. Serial numbers are vital KEYS to Pawn Shop inventory AND Police Reporting. Did you know that Samsung alone sold 40 MILLION TV’s in 2015?? We (and the Police) can only help you find yours if you have a serial number of your specific TV.
2) Photograph the REALLY important stuff. Yeah, take a picture of it!! Jewelry often does not have a serial number or ANY indicating mark of what would separate yours from any of the other billions of rings out there. But a photo is living proof. In our Pawn Shop, we photograph and catalog ALL jewelry by weight, gemstones, karat of gold, etc. Use a tape measure (or anything with a fixed size) as a gauge for estimating the size of your jewelry in the photo.
3) Inscribe a specific code on the merchandise that is unique to you! We ALWAYS looking for special indicating marks. So if you have a hammer drill that may go missing from a job-site, inscribe some number that is meaningful to you and easy to remember. Thieves will usually look to remove Names from products they intend to traffic, but numbers are not as important. Very rarely will we ever take an item of merchandise if it does not have a serial number, and if we do… then we will photograph it. Additional numbers inscribed on items are also recorded and reported.
4) Your FIRST action if you are victimized by theft is to REPORT IT TO THE POLICE!!! No, Officer Smith is not going to go Door-to-door looking for your stolen sewing machine. This is kinda unrealistic right?? But Officer Smith IS going to put a digital report together that will be accessed by dozens of authorities that will be on file virtually FOREVER!! So, if 5 months from now someone decides to bring in your Blu-Ray player and the serial number happens to be on digital file with the PD?? Boom, Found It!
5) Sorry but NO, you may not come into our shop and request to look through merchandise in pawn in order to locate your stuff. Merchandise and business in our store is protected under the privacy act much like you cant ask a bank for customers info, nor are we allowed to give you information on who brought stuff to us. This is where the REPORT TO THE POLICE comes in handy. We work with the police, Officer Smith will contact us to let us know that there is a potential for a match and then we’ll get to work getting it back to you. Also, if you are waiting a couple weeks to file a police report while looking at Pawn Shops retail merchandise, you’re missing the boat. Pawn Shops hold merchandise in the back we purchase for at least 30 Days before we put it out for sale specifically so victims have time to file a report… A pawn is a 90 Day Loan, it is not gonna see the light of day for a MINIMUM of 90 Days so do your part and FILE!
No one ever looks forward to it, but the few steps listed here are just a good way to be prepared should it happen. Taking these precautions will also enable us to help catch the very people responsible for thefts.