Mishawaka, Ind. Off-loading stolen goods at Mishawaka pawn shops just got one step harder thanks to a website that alerts police to stolen items.
“Leads online” is an web service that streamlines the reporting process for pawn shops and allows police across the nation to compare logs for items reported stolen.
Mishawaka passed an ordinance earlier this month requiring these businesses to use the site following its successful roll out in South Bend last year.
McKinley Pawn Owner Jeff Durrell says he couldn’t be happier with the move.
“It’s an excellent tool for the police,” Durrell said. “It’s instant reporting, they have all of my inventory tomorrow morning.”
Durrell says it makes things easier for everyone but the thieves.
“Before this, everyone had a different version, everybody had a different copy,” he said, describing the reports he had to file separately to the police departments. “It took forever. If there was stolen merchandise that came into us on a Friday, they might not know about it for three weeks.
Asst. Chief Dan Gebo is spear-heading the switch for the Mishawaka Police Dept. Now he’s going from business to business making sure they understand the ordinance and how the site works.
“The detective can sit on the computer and look on Leads Online and see the items that came through that day and see if it matches any of the stolen items we're looking for,” Gebo said.
The service comes at no cost to the businesses and is paid for by the city.
“But that cost is made up by not having to pay overtime and driving from pawn shop to pawn shop,” he explained.
Owners who have already started using the service say the result is dramatically fewer stolen item cases to work through with police.
“The way we report now, you'd have to be stupid to bring stolen merchandise into a pawn shop,” Durrell said. “It’s going right to the police, It’s going right to the reporting system and they know instantly where it is.”