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Plano company helps law enforcement catch criminals

By Brittany Feagans

November 6, 2013

Pawn shops can be great places for people needing cash on the quick, but for those with more sinister motives, Plano-based LeadsOnline is here to help law enforcement crack down on criminals.

As the nation's largest online investigative system, LeadsOnline is used by law enforcement agencies in all 50 states, including more than 500 agencies in Texas, to recover stolen property and solve crimes. The company works with businesses that buy property that residents bring in, including secondhand stores, scrap metal recyclers, pawn shops and Internet drop-off stores.

"Prior to LeadsOnline forming and creating the system to help solve crimes in a more efficient way, law enforcement had to pick up paper tickets from pawn shops and could only see tickets from their jurisdiction," said Lindsay Williams, director of communications for LeadsOnline. "LeadsOnline was created to help expedite and streamline the process for everyone involved."

Millions of items are added to the LeadsOnline database daily, making records instantly available to law enforcement agencies across the country. The information given to authorities is typically the name of the person and the serial number, make and model of the equipment.

"When we have stolen property we can check a lot of different pawn shops to see if any of the property reported stolen is on their database," said Officer David Tilley, Plano Police Department spokesman. "There are pawn shops all over the DFW area, and when they get equipment in, LeadsOnline collects the information of everything pawned into one central source that all law enforcement can log into with model and serial number."

Recently, LeadsOnline made headlines for helping Carrollton PD arrest a man for allegedly stealing 11 laptops from his employer, then selling the property to 11 different businesses across North Texas to support a drug addiction.

The suspect, Brandon Jacobs, gave police a full confession and was arrested and charged with felony theft. Ten of the 11 laptops have been recovered.

"I would have recovered the laptop that was sold in Carrollton, but without the help of LeadsOnline, I never would have known to look at pawn shops in Grapevine, Irving or any of the other cities," said Det. Robert Huckaby of the Carrollton PD property crimes unit, in a press release.

Being able to search across jurisdictional lines certainly helps catch thieves, but Williams wants people to know how important it is to record their serial numbers.

"One of the biggest pieces of feedback we've received is victims never have their serial numbers," she said. "We've created ReportIt so citizens can create a free account and catalog all of their products online, which will greatly increase their odds of getting their property back. Hopefully this will aid law enforcement in being able to get those serial numbers by taking a proactive approach to it."

For more information, visit to create a free account.


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