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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB)--Until recently, pawnshops have been popular places for thieves to unload their stolen merchandise. But now Metro Police are using a new tool that may change that. It is part of an online system used by both police and local pawnshops.
"First of all we don't want stolen items," says Tim Holsclaw, co-owner of Fidelity Pawn & Jewelry.
Holsclaw's store is on Shelbyville Road in St. Matthews. He says, "It's not in our best interest to take any stolen merchandise."
The store is loaded with televisions, jewelry and tools, most of which was taken in on pawn. However, Holsclaw is crystal clear when it comes to stolen merchandise. "We don't want it; it costs money for us. It delays being able to turn it around," says Holsclaw.
That's why the pawnshop is one of a number of local businesses that subscribe to "Leads Online."
Holsclaw says, "Our pawn system is fully integrated with leads online."
Leads online is a national data base system that allows police departments to track everything that is sold at pawnshops...and the people selling it.
Lt. Robert Schroeder with Metro Police Department's Panning and Technology says, "Since it has been implemented in August, we've got almost 7-hundred-thousand tickets and over a million items that have been submitted."
Since August, the system has also helped Metro Police solved dozens of cases. "It has been a very very valuable system for us," says Schroeder.
That includes a recent break in at an elderly woman's home, where a neighbor claimed to see two suspects. In the end police arrested the neighbor, Anthony Sellars, after learning he had pawned jewelry at Little Johns on the same day as the burglary, and there's more.
Lt. Schroeder says, "I was talking to one of the elder crimes detectives the other day and they were able to recover some property for an elderly lady the other day that a caretaker stole from her."
"And it's each night after we close that's when it's all downloaded to leads online," says Holsclaw.
Meanwhile, just a few months ago, a man was captured on surveillance video stealing a 12-hundred dollar pendant from Fidelity Pawn...so Holsclaw knows what it's like to be a victim. He says, "You know again, we don't want anyone else to have that feeling."
Pawn shops are not required to use the system but most local shops are on board.