Burglary victims hope stolen property winds up in pawn shop

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 News 12 First at Five

AUGUSTA, Ga --- Augusta burglary victims are taking inventory of what's left in their home. Wednesday we told you the Popes say $14,000 worth of goods were stolen out of their Williams Drive home, including electronics, jewelry and cash. One ring especially has personal value, belonging to a victim's mother who died three years ago.

With no suspects named, the Popes are hoping the thieves try to pawn their property, because some of their jewelry is unique and might stand out.

Pawn shops are required by law to cooperate with police as well as track all of their items. The Popes are banking on any recent transactions that may involve their stuff.

"The mom charm and the dad ring and the woman's bracelet," reads
Sgt. Ken Eskew as he surveys the list of missing items from a weekend burglary.

"DVDs can be found believe it or not," he says.

The Pope family is praying for their safe return; perhaps in a pawn shop.

"If a homeowner maintains serial numbers then the chances just jump up probably sixty percent or better that sooner or later we're going to find it somewhere," says Sgt. Eskew.

Victims of theft have grown to rely on Richmond County's partnership with pawnshops. Thieves often try to resell stolen stuff so a full-time investigator devotes his days to tracking transactions. They're collected once a week, serial numbers are stored and pages of pawnshop items are printed.

Alan Kortick takes pride in selecting his store's items.

"The psychology is a sixth sense, I think. I can pretty much tell when they walk in the door or have an idea that it's either right or wrong," says Kortick, owner of Downtown Pawnshop in Augusta.

The majority of items stolen from the Popes were electronics and jewelry; two of the more common items on pawnshop shelves. But they're confident they can be found and they're banking on the business of area pawn shops.

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