January 27, 2010
The first thing consumers need to do after buying electronic items, mobile phones, sporting equipment, watches, or any other type of product that contains a serial number is write that number down and hold on to it for safe keeping. Should your property be stolen, the serial number is one of the best ways to prove that the item is yours. Usually, that's the first question a police officer will ask a theft victim in the investigation, "Do you know your serial numbers for the items that were stolen?"
And usually, the response is, "No. I meant to, but never got around to it."
Consumers definitely need to remember to write those important serial, model, and other important identification numbers that are key in proving that an item is yours.
Through LeadsOnline, the nation's largest online investigative tool, police officers can use those numbers to search for and locate stolen property if it is sold to a pawn shop or secondhand store anywhere across the country, no matter where the item was stolen. The database can also search eBay using those serial numbers.
Detectives in Huntsville, Texas recently recovered more than $50,000 in stolen jewelry, thanks to the LeadsOnline search capabilities that allowed the detective on the case to track down the item using specific searches within the system. "Within 15 minutes, I had my first recovery in the case," explains Detective Marvin Hyvl. "And jewelry can be hard to find, but with the different ways I could search LeadsOnline, we recovered the items really quickly."
Serial numbers are the most commonly found on electronic items, but often watches will have a variety of numbers, including model numbers that will help to identify the items. LeadsOnline recommends writing down all numbers associated with an items and snapping a couple if pictures of the item as well.
LeadsOnline is the nation's largest online investigative system used by more than 3,000 law enforcement agencies to recover stolen property and solve crimes. Each day, millions of items are added to the LeadsOnline database by businesses including second-hand stores, scrap metal recyclers, pawnshops, and Internet drop-off stores across all 50 states. Those records are instantly available to law enforcement agencies, meaning crimes can be solved in seconds, not months. The LeadsOnline system, compatible with the NCIC, serves as an indispensible, efficient, and money-saving resource for detectives because it provides a cross-jurisdictional, instantaneous, and accurate database that stops criminals from escaping detection by selling stolen items in another city. An official eBay partner, LeadsOnline helps prevent illegal transactions on the eBay website by giving law enforcement access to the world's largest online marketplace through automatic upload of all eBay transactions into the LeadsOnline database. LeadsOnline also includes LeadsOnlabs, a system for tracking those involved in the illegal manufacture of methamphetamines; a Metal Theft Investigation System designed to track copper and other metal thefts; and cross-checks names of pawn customers against the OFAC SDN list of known terrorists and narcotics traffickers. Each year, LeadsOnline is credited with recovering millions of dollars in stolen goods and solving thousands of crimes that are often associated with bigger crimes, such as homicide, identity theft, and arson. Based in Dallas and led by President and CEO Dave Finley, LeadsOnline works with thousands of agencies throughout the country, including the New York Police Department, the Dallas Police Department, and the San Francisco Police Department.