By Mai Martinez
February 11, 2013
(CBS) — At a time when property crimes are on the rise nationally, burglaries in one western suburb are at a 20-year low.
Elgin police are giving much of the credit for their success to an online program. CBS 2's Mai Martinez reports.
Chief Jeff Swoboda says Elgin pawn shops, gold resellers and similar businesses are now required to use Leads Online to enter information about customers and items they're pawning or selling.
That information can be key in an investigation.
"We'll get usually a driver's license image or state ID image of the person who brought that item in to be pawned or resold," Elgin Police Lt. Sean Rafferty says. "It takes away their defense."
The results speak for themselves: As many as 20 arrests and dozens of cases closed.
One of those cases involved the theft of Kristin Aurelio's wedding ring from her home.
"I was emotional. I had thought maybe I'd never see it again," she says.
Elgin police used Leads Online to run the names of workers who had installed flooring at the house. They got a hit from a pawn shop in Chicago Heights showing Jeremy David Kolenda pawned a wedding ring.
The ring was recovered, and Kolenda was arrested.
"I was excited. I'm happy I got it back," Aurelio says. "I'm not going to take it off."
Elgin Police say people can also use Leads Online to register their valuables so that if they're ever stolen investigators can get the information they need faster.