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I found my stolen property at a local pawn shop. Do I really have to pay the pawn shop to get my own stuff back?

Watsonville, CA |

Two brothers burglarized my home. One turned himself in and was found guilty of grand theft. The other burglar is still at large. I have seen him walking around town and have called the police with no response. I found some of my own stuff at the pawn shop, but I have to pay to get my possessions back. I thought I was the victim of this crime. The police said that the pawn shop is also a victim. How can that be? The pawns shop must suspect some of the people and the type of items they bring in. Why can't the police confiscate the stuff for me? How can I get justice? I feel that the criminals and the pawns shop are victims, and I am just really of victim of the justice system and the criminals.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. The pawnshop is not a victim and gets to keep your stuff and sell it. I suspect the police have seized your possessions as evidence from the pawnshop and that's why they said the pawnshop was a victim too. If that is indeed the case you will not get your possessions back until 60 days after the criminal case has concluded.


  2. What the police are referring to is Penal Code section 484.1 - "Any person who knowingly gives false information or provides false verification as to the person's true identity or as to the person's ownership interest in property or the person's authority to sell property in order to receive money or other valuable consideration from a pawnbroker or secondhand dealer and who receives money or other valuable consideration from the pawnbroker or secondhand dealer is guilty of theft."

    The police should take the property as evidence in the theft case and list the pawnbroker as a victim as well. In my experience, the police will document the property, photograph it, then release it to the original owner.


  3. Call the Burglary squad of the police agency at issue on this case and ask to speak to the Inspector in charge of that case. It would help if you had the police dept case number, but it is not essential. Ask him or her if your stolen goods have been seized from the Pawn Shop and placed in the police evidence locker. If not, ask why not? Once they seize it, the Pawn Shop loses control and ownership and you will eventually get your stuff back, assuming you can prove it is yours. If the police have NOT seized your stuff and still refuse to, call the District Attrorney's Office and ask to talk to the felony charging deputy. He is the one who decides what charges are filed against whom. Maybe he can get something done. If all this fails, go to the local newspaper and tell them what is going on.