Tipped off that a local pawn shop wasn't reporting transactions to police as required, Medford police launched an investigation that led to the citation of two employees of All-Star Pawn.
Two workers at the shop at 4044 Crater Lake Ave., Medford, were cited on two counts each of failure to use the city's electronic pawn reporting system as required by city ordinance. The ordinance violation is a misdemeanor that has been sent to the Medford City Attorney's Office for prosecution in municipal court, police said.
The city requires all pawnbrokers to make an electronic report of all property they take in and record the driver's license or other state-issued identification of the person who pawned the property.
The system is a valuable investigative tool, Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau said.
"The reality is a lot of criminals steal property to turn it over for quick cash," he said, noting that many thieves have expensive drug habits. "Usually stolen property is not in the hands of the thief very long."
While some criminals trade electronics and other stolen goods directly for drugs or try to sell them on the black market, pawn shops are a destination for many, Budreau explained.
"Criminals were telling us All-Star was the place to get rid of stolen property," he said.
In an undercover investigation, police had an informant sell items at five Medford pawn shops. Four of them complied with the reporting requirements, getting identification and recording what items were taken in, police said.
In four separate transactions — two with each of the clerks cited — All-Star didn't require identification and didn't document the items received, police said.
"To have a shop not comply (with the reporting requirement), word spreads fast on the street," Budreau said.
— Anita Burke