Sheriff focuses on stolen property

The Carson City Sheriff's Office is working on an electronic system to track possibly stolen goods flowing through pawn and coin shops and scrap yards.

Sheriff Ken Furlong said the electronic database would allow his staff to sift through the shops' reports quicker than the once-a-week fax used now. The proposal still needs to go before the Board of Supervisors for a vote, and Furlong aims to have it on the board's agenda in March.

"This will really close some of the cracks in the pond in terms of identifying stolen property trying to be pawned," Furlong said.

He said his staff would meet with the affected parties - namely, the shopkeepers - before the proposal goes to the board. Not all the shopkeepers have been told of theproposal.

Furlong said that if the proposal goes through and is effective, it will be good for the shops because it would lower their likelihood of being on the hook for melting down or selling stolen items. He said it would also help return stolen goods to the owners.

"This is good for everyone," he said. "It's good for our businesses, it's good for our public and it's good for our law enforcement."

It was a thought that Downtown Coin owner Dan Wilson, who was told of the proposal earlier, could get behind.

"Anything that makes it easier for (the sheriff's office) probably makes it better for us," he said.

He said buying gold is only a small part of his business, so he doesn't expect too much to change if the process comes into place. In the history of his business, he said, he's had only two instances of mistakenly purchasing stolen goods and needing to return it.

"If a kid walks in, sniffing, with a big handful of gold scrap, I'm not going to touch it," Wilson said of his gold-purchasing philosophy. "It might be a little bit of profiling, but it keeps us from getting mixed up in a big mess."

Furlong said no single instance spurred the proposal. He said he hasn't heard any blowback on it, either.

Charlotte Nordman, assistant manager at pawn shop Capitol City Loan, said she supports the idea of electronic tracking, but she's waiting to hear details before committing to the sheriff's plan.

"We've heard (those plans) a few times," she said. "We're just waiting for it, really."

She said she would support anything that makes the pawn shop's daily paper reports easier. Plus, it would save paper, she said.

And if the database could flag items with a "Do not buy" warning of some sort, that's something else she could support.

"Every pawn shop has that problem, unfortunately," Nordman said of mistakenly buying stolen goods.

She said the shop is usually reimbursed during the trial, if the process makes it that far. But decreasing that likelihood would be a good thing.


The Carson City Sheriff's Office is working on a new electronic tracking system for all buyers of precious items, from pawn and coin shops to scrap yards. Sheriff Ken Furlong said the system would make it easier to identify stolen items before they are sold or melted down.


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