Man forced to buy stolen tools back from pawn shop
Jeff Tuke says his own landscaping employees stole a $300 tool right out of his shop then pawned it for $40 (Photo: FOX19)
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -
His own landscaping employees stole a $300 tool right out of his shop then pawned it for $40. Jeff Tuke says he found his stolen hedge trimmers but a state law made getting it back even harder.
He says it's a matter of principle, not money.
"They were three hundred dollars and they were gone within a month or so from guys stealing them and I'm just sick of it and I'm just fed up with this," said Tuke.
Tuke used the serial number to track down his stolen hedge trimmers at a Cash America pawn shop in Colerain Township but when he when he asked to get them back he couldn't believe the answer.
"Why do I have to pay $40 and they're mine and they are stolen? That just doesn't make any sense at all," said Tuke.
Raphael Tincher, Treasurer of the Ohio Pawn Brokers Association says it is rare for pawn shops to accept stolen property anymore but when they do they have to get their money back somehow.
"It's like somebody walking up to you on the street and somebody pointing at your earrings and saying those are mine! I know they are mine! They were stolen from me. You don't want the police just to grab those earrings and give them to that person. It's a matter of due process," said Tincher.
The Ohio law that addresses how pawnbrokers handle the return of allegedly stolen items is vague. It does not require pawnbrokers to return items without charging the rightful owner. The owner could go to court but that can be a lengthy and costly process.
Section of ORC 4727.12: "If the chief or sheriff receives a report that property has been stolen and determines the identity of the true owner of the allegedly stolen property that has been purchased or pawned and is held by a licensee, and informs the licensee of the true owner's identity, the licensee may restore the allegedly stolen property to the true owner directly. If a licensee fails to restore the allegedly stolen property, the true owner may recover the property from the licensee in an action at law."
Cash America gave us this statement saying:
The law does not require pawn stores to give owners the item back but company policy is, if the rightful owner presses charges and it results in a conviction, Cash America will return the item free of charge.
Tuke made it out of Cash America his tool in hand after finally paying that $40 but it doesn't mean it's right he says and the law needs to change.
"It is what it is and it's the way America is going...bad," said Tuke.
Tuke plans to press charges against the former employees he says stole his tools.