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Pawn shop regulations try to keep thieves away

By Paige Sedgewick, Reporter, psedgewick@kcfw.com
Published On: Jan 27 2014 06:54:34 PM MST
Updated On: Jan 27 2014 09:47:31 PM MST
KALISPELL, Mont. -

To make sure pawn shops aren't receiving or selling stolen goods, they have strict regulations to follow.

Earlier this month, we told you how Sean David Smith was accused of trying to pawn someone's Purple Heart. It happened at Over the Hill Gang Pawn Shop, and the owner knows a form he's required to get sellers to fill out can stop a suspected thief.

"If the item has serial numbers or anything like that, we write all the serial numbers down on the pawn tickets," Byron Sundberg.

And there's more, seller's need to show their home address and their ID. And just to make sure, Byron says the cops check in often and he sees them about once a week.

"There are actually state laws that allow us to -- cities and towns -- to regulate pawn shops," said Roger Nasset, Kalispell Police Chief.

But a new online pawn shop catalog makes things easier. In 2012 Kalispell Police Department initiated and paid for a program called Leads Online, where local pawn shops can access and keep a record of all the items pawned to their store on the internet.

Leads Online allows the police department to access the pawn shop records at anytime. This way they are keeping track of who is selling what.

"Leads Online has been really helpful for us," said Nasset.

But, while observers report the program works, for the most part, it's only as good as the information the pawn shops get.