Buying stolen goods from pawn shops doesn’t sound like a good thing for law enforcement to be doing, and Greensboro city councilmembers expressed concern when they heard that was the policy of the Greensboro Police Department at the Feb. 4 City Council meeting.
Former Guilford County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy and retired North Carolina Highway Patrol Officer Edward Melvin told the City Council that the Greensboro Police Department had a policy of buying stolen property from pawn shops and he thought that was wrong.
Melvin said, “If a pawn shop owner buys something stolen, we use taxpayer dollars to buy it back from the pawn shop.”
He added, “If it’s an individual, what we do is lock them up. We don’t pay for that merchandize.”
Melvin asked, “Why criminalize one party and reward the other for doing the exact same thing?”
Greensboro Police Department Public Information Officer Ronald Glenn, when asked about the pawn shop buy back program by email didn’t leave much doubt in his response.
Glenn stated, “The Greensboro Police Department does not have a program in place to buy back stolen goods from pawn shops. I don’t have any information on the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department policies, but we do not purchase stolen goods from pawn shops.”
Melvin said that people in the Greensboro Police Department told him that they purchased goods in order to get the pawn shops to cooperate and he added that he didn’t think pawn shop owners should be arrested, but he had a problem with using tax dollars to buy stolen property.
Since the Greensboro Police Department doesn’t buy stolen goods from pawn shops, this looks like an issue that the Greensboro City Council was needlessly concerned about.