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chathamstartribune.com

'Report It' offers secure registry

By Susan Light

August 13, 2014

Pittsylvania County Sheriff Mike Taylor announced Monday that his office is offering a free and secure online service to all county residents wishing to register personal property in case of loss or theft.

Taylor said the service is especially important at this time of year when students are going back to school or away to college.

"It's a no-nonsense, straight-to-the-point program," said Taylor. "It focuses on the link between investigative services and criminal activity."

"We're timing it with the schools' opening because it's a good program for parents, teachers, and administrators," he said.

Report It, a proactive online program, gives county citizens a safe and secure online portal to store important information that is useful in recovering property in the event of a loss or theft.

The sheriff said parents can register their child's cell phone, iPod, iPad or any items that have a unique identifiable serial number.

"Last school year our office received multiple complaints of stolen iPhones, cell phones, iPads, iPod, etc.," he said. "Some of these items were recovered; others were not."

Taylor pointed that cell phones and electronic devices contain a lot of personal information, such as financial records, but young peoples' phones may also contain pictures or "selfies" along with home addresses, online social media user names, and passwords.

"If this information falls into the wrong hands, such as a burglar or a child predator, they could potentially get enough information from the electronic device to break into your home or begin an online conversation through social media with your child and ultimately kidnap that child," the sheriff said.

Taylor also encouraged parents to register their college students' electronic devices no matter how far away they may be going to school.

"This information can be useful to campus police at their respective college in recovering their lost or stolen items from televisions to computers to even mini-refrigerators and microwaves," he said.

The service is available free to all county residents.

Any personal property items can be registered, including yard tools, such as lawn mowers and chainsaws.

The property owner is the only one with access to the information until he or she decides to print out a copy of their information to give to an investigator.

Citizens can access the website at www.pittgov.org and browse to the sheriff section. A link is located at the bottom of the page.

Report It is a part of Leads Online, an online system that works with police across the country to track and recover stolen property.

Pittsylvania County Sheriff's Office already uses Leads Online to help track and recover stolen property.The system allows detectives to search for the items using item descriptions and serial numbers.

With information provided by Leads Online, police track down thieves, develop leads in numerous cases, and make arrests.

Taylor said that citizens can store an unlimited number of serial numbers, item descriptions, pictures, and scans of receipts.

That way items may be more easily identified in the event of theft.

The record may also come in handy when filing claims with insurance providers.

Any parent wishing to have the serial numbers of his or her child's cell phone or electronic devices entered into this system can see the school's resource officer for help.

Source: http://www.chathamstartribune.com/news/article_da9bf6ee-22eb-11e4-99fb-001a4bcf887a.html

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