Police and pawn shops work together to catch criminals selling stolen items


SAN ANTONIO – Thieves looking for quick cash will attempt to return stolen items for cash, sometimes leading them to pawn shops. These stores are now working with the police to catch criminals trying to sell stolen items.

San Antonio police arrested Virginia Vela Torres, 45, on Wednesday after finding stolen jewelry from a pawnshop. Officers say she stole jewelry from children at a daycare where she worked.

Teamwork between the pawnshop and the police made it possible to arrest and return the stolen goods.

“It’s a loss on our end, so it certainly doesn’t benefit the pawnshop or the industry to sell stolen goods,” said Shirley Gonzales, former city councilor and owner of Bill’s Pawn & Jewelry.

The stolen jewelry was not recovered from Gonzales’ business, but she explained how San Antonio pawn shops and law enforcement work together.

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Gonzales said business owners have regular meetings with SAPD to discuss things to watch out for and emerging theft trends. She said how these companies document the items sold in their stores is the most important, as the seller must file a copy of their ID.

“Every pawnshop in San Antonio voluntarily downloads all of the transactions for the day. They go directly to a third-party system which then connects to the police department, ”Gonzales said.

Gonzales said if an agent sees an item on his theft report, he is able to locate the seller. They also return stolen goods to safe hands most of the time.

Gonzales said the best chance of recovering the items is if they are engraved, have identifiable markings, and if you have photos of them. Write down the serial and model numbers and keep them in a safe place if your items contain them.

If your electronic device is stolen, the police can easily tell if an item is yours if the serial number matches.

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