By Frances Watson
May 29, 2017
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KSPR) – You've been robbed. You're house, burgled. Now what? There's a good chance you could get your stuff back.
"Everything we've bought and everything we've pawned that day, all this information that we've put in for it automatically gets uploaded to the Leads Online database," said pawn shop owner Cory Loftis.
His grandparents were the first to use the Leads Online national database. The program is shared between police department and re-sellers across the country.
"They helped push it through to make it a city ordinance that all pawn shops in Springfield have to use leads," he said.
If someone sells or tries to pawn stuff, it's tracked. The serial number is logged into the database.
"What I try to tell people, they don't realize how valuable the serial number is on your fire arms and things like that," said Springfield Police Officer Jacob Boomgaarden.
Springfield police then run a report of everything sold to local pawn shops. The serial numbers are then compared to those submitted on burglary reports.
"If they're following what they're supposed to be doing, they should be checking those items. For them, it's a potential loss. They don't want to buy stolen items because essentially those are going to be seized and given back to the original owner," said Boomgaarden.
Loftis says this happens quite often. Last month, he unknowingly bought a gun that was reported stolen in the 1980s.
"Because of Leads Online, he actually got it back 30 years later from Missouri when it had been stolen in Seattle," he said.
Items without serial numbers can still be tracked. Police and pawn shops recommend keeping detailed descriptions of your valuables.
"That's what I especially try to tell people with jewelry, specifically, because there's not serial numbers on it. If you take the time to write down gem stone, description or take photos, put those in a fire proof safe, somewhere else, maybe in your garage or another person's house. Simply if those things are stolen you can go off that list. It saves us a bunch of time," said Boomgaarden.
Pawn shop owners in Springfield also work together through social media networks to track stolen items.