Using Online Database, Seattle-Area Police Recover Stolen Camera, With Help From Quick-Thinking Pawn Shop Owner

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LeadsOnline, the Nation’s largest online investigation tool, helps police recover digital camera stolen from Mercer Island family.

Dallas (Vocus) ― A Mercer Island family has its cherished photo memories back, thanks to the Seattle and Mercer Island police and the help of LeadsOnline, an online database that helps police recover stolen property. If an item is reported to police as stolen and it is sold in a pawn shop, the police are immediately alerted.

When a man recently walked into a Capitol Hill pawn shop and attempted to pawn a Nikon digital camera with two lenses, and iPod Nano and a Coach handbag, the store owner got the feeling that these might be stolen items. Not wanting to alert the seller of his suspicions, the owner acted as though he was inspecting the camera and managed to snap a photo of the seller. The owner slyly removed the camera’s memory card before telling the man he would not purchase the items he had for sale.

As soon as the man left the store, the owner immediately called police and alerted them of his suspicions.

With a few clicks through LeadsOnline, the online database that is used by most Seattle-area police department to track goods sold to pawn shops, the police were able to see that the camera and other items were sold at another nearby pawn shop moments after the man left Capitol Collateral. Because LeadsOnline provides immediate, real-time access to those pawn shop records, the police recovered the stolen property from the pawn shop later that day. And since LeadsOnline captures important seller information from their driver’s license, the police were able to immediately identify the thief; a case against the thief is currently underway.

The camera’s memory card contained important ‘life’ moments of a young child’s first day at school and other summer memories that were meant to last a lifetime for the Mercer Island family. But the camera was stolen before they had downloaded the images. Through some collaborative detective work on behalf of the Seattle and Mercer Island police departments, using clues from the family images, were able to return the camera―and the full memory card―to its rightful owners.

In September, LeadsOnline was instrumental in tracking down a rifle that was stolen from a Seattle man more than 40 years ago. LeadsOnline helps recover a wide-range of items that are stolen every day, from household items and lawn equipment and sporting goods, to the more unusual such as rare violins, collectible books, and other often irreplaceable items that mean much more in sentimental value than dollar amounts.

But LeadsOnline is helping police find those stolen goods quickly, no matter where the items are sold. With the broad, nationwide reach of the LeadsOnline database, police detectives can search across jurisdictions to recover the stolen items.

LeadsOnline is the nation’s largest online investigative system used by more than 3,000 law enforcement agencies to recover stolen property and solve crimes. Each day, millions of items are added to the LeadsOnline database by businesses including second-hand stores, scrap metal recyclers, pawnshops, and Internet drop-off stores across all 50 states. Those records are instantly available to law enforcement agencies, meaning crimes can be solved in seconds, not months. The LeadsOnline system, compatible with the NCIC, serves as an indispensible, efficient, and money-saving resource for detectives because it provides a cross-jurisdictional, instantaneous, and accurate database that stops criminals from escaping detection by selling stolen items in another city. An official eBay partner, LeadsOnline helps prevent illegal transactions on the eBay website by giving law enforcement access to the world’s largest online marketplace through automatic upload of all eBay transactions into the LeadsOnline database. LeadsOnline also includes LeadsOnlabs, a system for tracking those involved in the illegal manufacture of methamphetamines; a Metal Theft Investigation System designed to track copper and other metal thefts; and cross-checks names of pawn customers against the OFAC SDN list of known terrorists and narcotics traffickers. Each year, LeadsOnline is credited with recovering millions of dollars in stolen goods and solving thousands of crimes that are often associated with bigger crimes, such as homicide, identity theft, and arson. Based in Dallas and led by President and CEO Dave Finley, LeadsOnline works with thousands of agencies throughout the country, including the New York Police Department, the Dallas Police Department, and the San Francisco Police Department.

Public Relations/Media Inquiries:
Anne Clarrissimeaux, 214.552.0910


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