DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. -- Businesses such as thrift stores, consignment stores and pawn shops are located across the Piedmont Triad.
All of those businesses sell second-hand items, but right now, only pawn shops and precious metal dealers are required by law to keep records of who brings items in.
At Pawn Way in Lexington, employees log all items into the company’s computer system as well as a law enforcement database.
“Everything that comes in our pawn shop on a daily basis is sent out every night at closing. So [law enforcement] gets the record, the name of the person that brought it, the ID number, address, phone number, and a description of what we took in,” said Carolyn Anderson, Pawn Way manager.
Davidson County investigators say roughly 90 percent of stolen items they recover and return to their rightful owners are found through those online records.
“If items are stolen, we don't want them in our stores. We want people to have their items like they're supposed to. We also want law enforcement to have access to tools they use to catch and put these criminals in jail,” said Kyle Farson, Area Supervisor for 1st National Pawn.
That’s why the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office hopes the state general assembly will consider adopting new legislation requiring all second-hand stores to have the same record keeping standards.
Although they don’t report the information to authorities, some second-hand stores already take down sellers’ information.
“We have an agreement they fill out with their name, address and phone number,” said Robin Roseberry of New 2 U Consignments. “We tag it. When it sells, you get your money. It's an easy way to make extra money.”
Roseberry says more than 600 people have to come New 2 U Consignments to sell their belongings.
Right now, investigators have to go to each store in person to look for things that have been reported stolen. That’s why officials say requiring all second-hand businesses to keep records -- the way pawn shops do -- would make a huge difference.
Officials in Davidson County say the goal is for the state general assembly to address the issue during their next legislative session.
There also are steps you can take to help law enforcement find your belongings if they are stolen. Investigators recommend taking digital pictures of your valuables and their serial numbers, then storing the memory card somewhere safe.