- Killeen Police nab two for robbery
- Bell Court sentences woman to prison for Killeen robbery & other court actions
The Killeen Daily Herald had a minor story on the arrest of a Killeen woman after property stolen from a home was pawned at a local pawn shop.
Killeen police found Helmandollar's name on pawn records for jewelry stolen from a home in December.
According to an arrest affidavit, pawn records showed the stolen jewelry had been pawned by Helmandollar as early as the same day as the home burglary occurred.
According to court and jail records, Helmandollar lives a block away from the victim's home.
The story is not particularly remarkable for what happened but it does bring up an interesting topic, that is reducing outlets for stolen property as a method of reducing crime.
Crime such as theft can be driven by a number of factors. One is that the thief wants a particular item for his or her own use. A thief spots a shiny new TV and rather than work hard, get a paycheck and buy it, they decide to steal it. Once the thief acquires the TV, they might take it home and put it in their living room and watch the game on it.
However, many of the most prolific thieves, aren't stealing items for their personal use but instead they are taking them with the design of converting them to cash or some other object of value such as narcotics. For them the theft is an intermediate step towards converting this stolen property to cash.
Pawn shops or other second hand stores used to be one common avenue for a thief to convert stolen property to cash. However, under Texas law pawn shops are required to keep detailed information on persons pawning property to cut down on just this sort of nonsense as we saw above. With the advent of more stores that regularly buy and sell second hand property such as DVD's, video games, etc. law enforcement agencies in many jurisdiction are pushing for governmental bodies to make the same requirements for these stores as are required for pawn brokers. In fact, the city were I work has an ordinance that requires this type of record keeping.
The idea is to make it more difficult for thieves to convert stolen items to cash. Whether they know it or not, thieves often make decisions based on cost/benefit ratios. If we raise the cost or effort required to convert stolen property high enough with respect to the desired benefit, it will not make economic sense for the thief to continue this line of work.
Of course, the reporting requirements of pawn shops caused thieves to seek new outlets such as second hand stores to dispose of their goods. If second hand stores are removed from the equation, then thieves will have to once again adapt their business model. In my jurisdiction we have seen some of this as it's now not uncommon for thieves to dispose of stolen property through informal exchanges such as offering items for sale from the trunk of a car, or at flea markets where regulations don't upset their cost/benefit ratio.
What ways do thieves in your jurisdiction dispose of their stolen good? What can your agency do to change the cost/benefit ratio in these illegal markets?