Alert pawnshop owner helps bust a bike thief

After commending this outer East Portland shopkeeper for taking down a petty thief, police tell the steps you should take if your home or car is burglarized …

By David F. Ashton
Because those involved chose not to meet with us, we don’t have photos of this solved crime – but the story which we uncovered, and what you can learn from it, are important.

Pawn gone wrong
On February 28, a man stomped out of the Money Market Pawn Shop, near SE 169th Avenue on SE Division Street – angry because the pawn keeper, Peter Lim, didn’t buy the bicycle he was selling.

“Lim recognized the man,” said Portland Police Bureau spokesman Sgt. Brian Schmautz, “and suspected the bike might be stolen. But, he took down information on the bike, and 0n the man, before he turned him away.”

Then, Lim picked up the phone and talked with detectives from the Police Bureau’s Special Property Investigations Unit. That led to a search of Sutton’s residence, which uncovered yet another stolen bicycle – a bike which police say was the victim’s only means of transportation to and from work.

They didn’t have to go far to arrest the man who officials say is a repeat thief, 31-year-old William Sutton; he was already in jail for Probation Violation.

Sutton subsequently was charged with Attempted Theft in the First Degree, two counts of Attempted Theft in the Second Degree, one count of Theft in the First Degree, and one count of Theft in the Second Degree in connection with the stolen bikes.

Police say this man, William Sutton, makes money by selling and pawning things – namely, other people’s property that he’s stolen.

Sticky-fingered Sutton
Schmautz reminded us that, in September of last year, Sutton was arrested when he tried to pawn a widow’s stolen wedding ring at a Portland pawnshop.

“That arrest occurred after alert pawnshop employees, acting on information provided by the police, recognized Sutton and the ring, and then called the police while Sutton was still in the store,” said Schmautz. “Months later, police learned that Sutton was out of custody and selling property again.”
Something stolen?

Many people believe they’ll find their stolen goods on sale at a pawnshop or secondhand store immediately after being stolen.

But, Schmautz explained, “What many don’t realize is that property sold to one of these locations is kept in a ‘police hold area’ for 30 days – and for 90 days, if it was pawned and not redeemed.”

During this “hold” period, he added, the Police Bureau’s Special Property Investigations unit works to identify any of the property that might be stolen. “One of the best ways to help law enforcement recover your stolen property is to document all serial numbers, photograph valuables, and give this information to the police if you are victimized.”

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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