$18K Watch Ticks Off Cops | News

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$18K Watch Ticks Off Cops
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --  A local pawn shop is currently under investigation after police busted one of the store's customers.

JSO Officer Tom Herrington says Gold Buyers on the Northside paid an 18-year-old woman less than $700 for a Rolex watch.

The problem? Herrington says it belonged to her grandmother and was worth more than $18,000.

"There is a good possibility that she is going to be charged with grand theft of the items," said Herrington.  

He says she also stole and then pawned some of her grandmother's other jewelry. Not only is she likely in trouble, but the owner of Gold Buyers could be too.

"When asked to give us that paperwork from that transaction, by Florida state statute, he could not produce that," he said.  

By law, Florida pawn shops and secondhand dealers need to keep a record of every transaction.

But JSO found the company hadn't documented the watch, or a number of other purchases over the past year.

"The whole case is still under investigation but the owners could be arrested and dealing in stolen property and the business could ultimately be closed down," he said.

JSO is now going over every piece of merchandise in the store to ensure it too isn't stolen property.

MORE: HOW TO FILE A COMPLAINT AGAINST A PAWN SHOP

But off the book transactions don't come as a surprise to people in the business.

"By and large they come and go, and they do as they please, and it's hard to regulate all of it," said River City Jewelry and Pawn Owner Jerome Bonnett.  

Bonnett has owned River City Pawn for 20 years, and says that following the letter of the law in a pawn or secondhand store isn't easy.

They have to catalog every single purchase they make and report a description of the goods to JSO.

"We actually send in a disk every day so that they can take a look at what transactions are made, and if there's any questions they can get in touch with us," he said.

Bonnett takes down the name, license number and address of every customer.

And if the goods he buys turn out to be stolen, well...

"We lose that money. It's kind of the cost of doing business," he said.

Chargers are pending against the woman police say pawned the watch and the owners of Gold Buyers.

JSO did recover the grandmother's watch.  

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