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Property one party claims was illegally taken from him was pawned (by someone else). The victim would like to retrieve possession of his property. The pawnbroker is reluctant to return the property. Art. 47.01, 47.01a and 47.02, CCP seem to identify how to resolve disputed ownership if the property is in the possession of an officer. Does the sheriff have any obligation or right to demand possession of the property from the pawnshop? I recognize the pawnshop is proceeding at its own risk under Four B's, Inc., 902 S.W.2d at 685 ("Rather than legitimizing a pawnshop's good faith purchase of stolen property, the provisions of the Pawnbroker Act show
an intent that pawnbrokers not receive and assert title to stolen property."). But is a suit for conversion or recovery of the property (or perhaps sequestration) by the "true" owner the only remedy available? I note that the TAC Title 7, Part 1 does not seem to contain any of the rules that the Finance Commission is ordered to adopt by Sec. 371.181(b)(2) of the Finance Code to "allow a pawnbroker to assist the consumer in recovering stolen property".

I suppose the pawnbroker could be threatened with his own theft allegation, but I really do not want to get involved in this type dispute (although I would like to see the property promptly returned to its true owner with a minimum of time and expense). Am I missing something in the law?
 
Posts: 2368 | Registered: February 07, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Alison: Thanks for your help in locating Sec. 85.419(b)(4)(D), (5) of the Adm.Code. Those provisions speak of "seizure by a law enforcement official" of the stolen property or its release "to the custody of a law enforcement agency for use in a criminal investigation if the officer has furnished a written receipt for the property." It then also refers to "other disposition by court order" (aside from ultimate return to the pawnbroker). Still unclear to me what justifies such a seizure (maybe 18.16 CCP?), but I guess the investigating officer can request the property "for use" and then start a Chapter 47 proceeding (seems kind of sneaky to me). Anyone else have a different suggestion?
 
Posts: 2368 | Registered: February 07, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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You got the statute that would permit taking the property for use already.

Another option that makes that one seem sensitive is in 18.01 Tx.C.C.P. Pawn shops are closely regulated industries so developing probable cause to believe the reportedly stolen merchandise is there is a breeze. Get a search warrant, and get he stuff. Then it is in your possession. I would think the pawn shop would rather have a receipt.

The hang up in my experience is that pawn shops want to be made whole by the State, the police or the theft victim rather than having to wait in line for restitution from the thief if the thief can be ordered to pay and does pay. This issue was thoroughly litigated in our county in a District Court proceeding which was appealed to the Court of Appeals - I think there was a reported decision. Sean Proctor in our office prevailed. You might try to call him at 254-933-5215. He'd need to think back 4 or 5 years, but he could come up with some material for you if this is the hang up.

Good luck.
 
Posts: 78 | Location: Belton, Texas | Registered: May 01, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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How do you get your property back from the pawnshop? Sorry - I need layman's terms. The pawnshop wants us to pay the money they are out, and the thief hasn't been caught yet - though they know who he is. cool
 
Posts: 3 | Location: Irving, TX | Registered: September 27, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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When last I had a Dallas County pawn shop holding a piece of stolen property I discovered that they had an organization. I wished to get a piece of stolen property from one of their members who didn't want to give it up without up front compenation from the police, the D.A.'s Office or the victim of the theft. I dropped a Grand Jury Subpoena duces tecum (for the stolen property) on the owner of the shop. The organizations lawyer called and said " ... but if he brings the stolen property to the grand jury it will be seized." I asked him what his point was? The shop turned the property over to the police with no further trouble.

In theory a private citizen could turn to a lawyer of his choice or try a pro se action in Justice of the Peace Court but why is it not a police matter?
 
Posts: 78 | Location: Belton, Texas | Registered: May 01, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The police are involved - they are currently looking for the guy who stole the property - as a matter of fact, they've been looking for this guy for the past six months - which gives me great concern on if and when they will find him. In the meantime, the stolen property remains at the pawnshop, and the only hopes of getting it back quickly is to pay the pawnshop the money they would be out - unless you can give me some suggestions on how else to get it back.
 
Posts: 3 | Location: Irving, TX | Registered: September 27, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The property is stolen property. So, any officer (or citizen for that matter) should be able to recover it and hold it as evidence. A grand jury subpoena or search warrant should do just fine.
 
Posts: 7860 | Location: Georgetown, Texas | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Right John, and once the property is sezied by the police, then Chapter 47 of the Code of Criminal Subject can come into play. Four B's 902 SW2d 983 is classic case from our office.

Even if the thief is not caught (or never caught), a magistrate can let the victim, i.e. owner, of the property have the property when there is no trial pending or had ... ever. Separate procedure if there is a trial.

Victim of the theft can be taken care of and pawn shop has claim against person who pawned it whom I am sure they fully identified as required by law.
 
Posts: 78 | Location: Belton, Texas | Registered: May 01, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hello everyone, I recently had some items stolen then sold to a pawn shop. The person who stole them was arrested and is currently in jail for grand theft. The person was arrested due to the items being tracked down to the local Pawnshop. We Then were informed by the police that if we wanted the items back we had to pay the pawnshop the amount of money the thief got for our stolen property. Is this legal? I know its a crime to buy or sell stolen property so how could they get away with it.


peter
 
Posts: 1 | Location: uk, london | Registered: March 23, 2016Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Welcome to the TDCAA Bulletin Boards. The discussions in these user forums are for the benefit of prosecutors and their staff members. We welcome relevant and appropriate input from other members of the criminal justice and government lawyer community, but anonymous posting is not permitted. The opinions expressed on this forum are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of TDCAA, its staff, or any other member of the association. These forums are NOT a source of legal advice for citizens. Call the State Bar of Texas (800/204-2222) for information on seeking legal advice.
 
Posts: 109 | Location: Llano, TX USA | Registered: June 29, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Peter Smith,
The general rule is that the pawn shop takes the risk when it purchases used property that it may be stolen. If the pawn shop accepts stolen property, it must return the property to the true owner, and look to the person who pawned the item for compensation.

But this forum is for Texas prosecutors. The laws in Britain are very different. In Britain you can't even shoot a burglar in your own home without getting in Big Trouble with the police. So it would not surprise me if in Britain you have to pay the pawn shop to get your gear back. Perhaps the solution to your problem is to write off your loss and move to Texas, which is known as "the land of the free and the home of the brave." Or at least that is what it is known as by other Americans.
 
Posts: 686 | Location: Beeville, Texas, U.S.A. | Registered: March 22, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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When you have someone that is making their first post the forum and has an embedded link like that -- especially someone who claims to be complaining about pawn shops and then links to pawn shops -- you can rest assured this is a spam robot.
 
Posts: 81 | Registered: December 13, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I hate spam robots.
 
Posts: 2368 | Registered: February 07, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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