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CBS Channel 11

Arlington PD & Pawn Shops Work To Fight Crime

By Steve Pickett

January 29, 2010

In Arlington, police have recovered almost $1,000,000 in stolen goods and some of the credit is going to a crime solving tool that can be found on the internet.

Almost anything and everything can be found in Trader Jim's Pawn Shop. In addition to things for sale, there are also serial numbers on the items and information collected from those doing the pawning.

Arlington police has access o the inventory and customer information. "They basically have a database of everything that's pawned here, or at any other pawn shop that's on the actual system," explained George Gutierrez with Trader Jim's.

The system Gutierrez refers to is an online crime detective tool called LeadsOnline.

Arlington police detectives, chasing thousands of city burglary cases, have used the online pawn shop database to hunt down suspects in 600 cases. Arlington Police Department Sgt. Tony Molina recalled some of the merchandise found. "Family heirlooms that we've returned; some have been violins, that were very expensive violins… $5,000 bicycles." Sgt. Molina says LeadsOnline is a big help. "There's just a big array of things that, that are stolen out there, that don't have any leads that we go into this search engine and find."

Police say their recovery success rate wouldn't be possible without the help of the pawn shop operators. The owners are the ones who take the pawned items and put them into the LeadsOnline database.

Police have recovered $800,000 worth of stolen stereos, cameras, guitars and even an Elvis photo. Those items are all back with their owners, because Arlington PD has a detective toy sitting at the counter of every pawn shop.

For more information on LeadsOnline call (800) 311-2656

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