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Internet provides quick property ID on stolen guns

The Upshur County Sheriff's Office has signed on to use online investigations tool to solve property crimes

June 9, 2013

LeadsOnline, the nation's largest online investigative tool, helps police instantly track and recover stolen property, no matter where it is stolen or sold.

In an effort to further combat crime in Upshur County, the Upshur County Sheriff Office is now using LeadsOnline,—an investigative system that enables investigators to search for suspects and stolen property across secondhand stores, scrap metal dealers, pawn shops, and Internet drop-off stores such as eBay, both locally and nationwide.

The system equips criminal investigators with the ability to instantly solve crimes and to return goods to their rightful owners, said Sheriff Anthony Betterton.

Property can be searched using serial numbers, suspect name, item descriptions, or other information. Most searches are completed within seconds.

Often, these property crimes are associated with larger crimes such as homicides, arson, and fraud.

"This is the largest online investigative system of its kind nationwide. Our investigators are using it to solve crimes ranging from burglaries to homicides by instantly searching for missing items in the transaction records of businesses across the area and the country.

"We appreciate the support of our local businesses as they work with us to serve our community," said Sheriff Betterton.

Without LeadsOnline, investigators had to undertake a time-consuming process of visiting all the stores in the area, collecting paper tickets and computer diskettes, and manually filing the tickets into a database.

Keeping up with the volume of information was costly and overwhelming, and detectives were limited to searching for stolen property within the city. With LeadsOnline, information is automatically collected from businesses each day.

Upshur County businesses that accept merchandise from the public throughout the area are now reporting electronically via LeadsOnline.

"More than 2,500 law enforcement agencies and businesses across the country are using the system to the benefit of countless victims of crime. We're excited about the opportunity to serve Upshur County and are expecting great results," said Dave Finley, CEO of LeadsOnline.

Here are a few success stories:

A detective in a Seattle, Washington, suburb recovered electronic equipment, valued at $1.7 million, stolen from a telecommunications company. It was the largest property recovery recorded in Washington law enforcement history.

Corpus Christi police caught two murder suspects when items from their crime scene were pawned in San Antonio, more than 150 miles away.

Fort Wayne, Ind., police responded to a burglary call concerning a missing PlayStation. After interviewing the young man who was babysitting at the residence, the responding officer decided to run his name through LeadsOnline from his patrol car.

Not only did he instantly find the missing PlayStation, he also found the young man had pawned his fiancées' engagement ring that had been missing for two days.

Bethany, Okla., police solved a 4-month-old case within their first few weeks on the system.

Jasper County, Mo., Sheriff's Officers responded to a burglary of a home in which several guns and a 4-wheeler were stolen.

Six weeks later, an investigator doing a regular check of LeadsOnline discovered two of the guns pawned in Ft. Smith, Ark., about 125 miles away.

The weapons were secured, the suspect was caught and made a full confession, and all of the other items were returned.

The victim had his property returned and the suspect went to jail. Detectives say they may never have solved this case without LeadsOnline.

LeadsOnline ( is the nation's largest online investigative system, used by more than 4,400 law enforcement agencies to recover stolen property and solve crimes.

Each day, millions of items are added to the LeadsOnline database by businesses, including secondhand stores, scrap metal recyclers, pawn shops, 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 Chicago Police Department, the Dallas Police Department, and the San Francisco Police Department.


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

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