Pawn shops could start tracking records digitally


Pawn shops could start tracking records digitally

MISSOULA, Mont. - Missoula police are cracking down on the resale of stolen items.

Police want to put in a web program called Leads Online into every pawn shop to track the items brought in.  The money to start the program is already in the 2015 approved police department budget, okayed by the council last week.

Under the current system, police go to every pawn shop and pick up a written out list of inventory, but they said that system doesn't always work.

Eric Stroh has managed Missoula Gold and Silver Exchange for 24 years. He sees more signs of theft now than he did 10 years ago.

"We're seeing a lot more come, and when we talked to the police about it, they're telling us that they just don't have enough people working on it," said Stroh.

Stroh believes a nationwide web program will speed up the police's process of finding thieves -- but it will double his workload.

"It's going to cause us more work because, traditionally, we take care of stuff on paper. So we're going to put it on paper and then have to put it in manually into the computer, so it's another step of work for us, basically," said Stroh.

Other cities have already started to use web-based tracking program.  In February, Kalispell police told us they implemented and paid for the program in 2012.  It gives them to access pawn shop records at anytime.

"Leads Online has been really helpful for us," said Kalispell Police Chief Roger Nasset.  

Despite the initial extra work, pawn shop managers expect the program to be worth in it the long run.

"I do see that putting it in the computer right away will maybe trigger something to where we and the officers can find out who is actually pawning stolen property and then help them track it down and catch people a lot sooner," said Stroh.

Police and pawn shop workers should be trained on the program and know more about how well it will work within the next couple months.

We took a closer look at the price tag. The total cost would be $6,600.

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