Pawn Shop Task Force

With the help of pawn shop employees, police in Tallahassee recover as much as $12,000 in stolen property each month.

When two men walked into a Tallahassee pawn shop earlier this week and tried to pawn a $500 keyboard for 30 bucks, the clerk knew something was up.

"The merchandise they had, they didn't know how to work, they didn't know how to use it and they were willing to take an absurd amount of money for something that was higher in value. They didn't have their game plan together, you know?" says Samuel Owens, assistant manager of Tallahassee Gun and Pawn.

Samuel and his colleagues stalled as one of them called police who soon arrived and arrested the men for dealing in stolen property.

Tallahassee police investigator Mike Goldwich visits every pawn shop in town at least once a week. To collect pawn tickets, compare serial numbers and make sure the items have not been reported stolen.

"We have a data base of every single thing that gets pawned at these pawn shops. When we get a police report from a burglary victim and they are able to list a serial number on a specific item, we enter that number into the pawn shop data base and we'll get a match," says Mike Goldwich.

Tallahassee police recover $5,000 to $10,000 a month in stolen property from pawn shops. Tools are a big ticket item, so are electronics and the odds of recovering them are much higher if owners take the time to record the serial numbers.

Those serial numbers are critical. Some folks not only can't provide those, but they don't know the exact make and model of an item either.