Theft victims want stricter rules for pawn shops

PLEASANT HILL, Ore. - The crooks busted their way in through a door and made off with $14,000 worth of jewelry and other property.

"I know it's just material things," said Michele Henderson, one of the victims, "but it's something that we could have passed on to our kids that will no longer be available to be part of our family."

Henderson's sister Kathleen said the thieves have not just stolen rings and necklaces.

"You can't replace it," she said. "I could go buy a ring today but it's not going to mean the same thing."

In the month since the break-in, Henderson said she and her sister combed pawn shops in the region and scanned Craigslist for any sign of the valuables, to no avail.

The sisters are frustrated - and think a change in the system could benefit crime victims.

They want to see a change in the law to force pawn shops to hold on to their incoming merchandise longer than 14 days.

With a longer hold-period, Henderson thinks people might have a better chance of recovering stolen goods that crooks try to pawn off on pawn shops.

"Giving the public 30 days, a lot less criminals would be getting away with it," Henderson said.

Troy Standard at Ace Buyers in Eugene said the current 14-day hold is tough enough. He said only 1/2 of 1 percent of the merchandise they take in proves to be stolen.

Over at the Lane County Sheriff's Office, there's plenty of sympathy for crime victims like Henderson but scarce resources to do something.

"Things that don't have serial numbers like jewelry or other valuables, it's really difficult to track those down," Sgt. Steve French said.