Pawn shop flagging identifies computer stolen in Oak Park

North Ave. pawn store employee catches stolen laptop, necklace

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By Jean Lotus

Forest Park Review Editor

A laptop serial number entered into a database by employees at Cash America pawn shop, 6303 W. North Ave., helped Oak Park police trace the computer to a Sept. 3 burglary in the 1300 block of North Harlem Avenue, police said.

Police arrested Jamal Jarrett, 26, of the 2100 block of W. Roosevelt Road in Broadview at his home around noon Sept. 9.

The victim said the burglary took place during the day between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Sept. 3. Found at the pawn shop were the MacBook Pro laptop as well as a second computer and a necklace that had been taken from the victim's home, police said.

Jarrett had to provide an ID to pawn the items at Cash America on Sept. 4.

He was charged with theft and held for bond hearings.

Reader Comments

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Pedantic Oak Park  

Posted: September 11th, 2013 11:46 PM

Bill, I want to emphasize the point (past the fact that criminals use pawn stores to unload goods) that concentrating pawn shops in a single area adds to the decline of that area. It would be very different if there was 1 pawn shop on North, but there is "5". Imagine if there were 5 strip clubs on North, or liquor stores on that 1 mile stretch etc... There is also the issue of the decline of house values when this happens, which is very real.

Pedantic Oak Park  

Posted: September 11th, 2013 11:41 PM

in and out of a pawn store within minutes, and are gone if the item is later connected to a burglary... The window of opportunity to catch them is much smaller. Regarding the Austin store; those convenience stores that operate that way are the exception, not the rule, while criminals making use of pawn stores happen everywhere... So no, you do not "outlaw" them, but hold them accountable. Note that I did not say "out law" pawn shops. I said don't concentrate a group of them in the same community

Pedantic Oak Park  

Posted: September 11th, 2013 11:34 PM

Bill, different fights require different strategies. There are not 5 flea markets sitting in a row within a 1 mile stretch of North Ave. Flea markets have not shown to add to the decline of an area, but pawn shops have. "Vendors" selling stolen items at Flea markets are there for most of the day, with cops walking about (both as security and investigating, so they serve 2 functions and do not unnecessary time away), so run a much hire risk of getting caught. Criminals can literally be cont...

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: September 11th, 2013 11:08 PM

Fair enough, Pedantic. But then do we to outlaw flea markets serving both legal and illegal purposes? Law enforcement routinely monitors those businesses, and routinely recovers stolen goods there from burglaries and thefts. I've inspected a large room in the 15th district station utterly packed with items recovered from a fencing operation. Walked through a convenience store in Austin that was purchasing retail theft proceeds at 20-25 cents on the dollar and reselling them. Do we outlaw them?

Pedantic Oak Park  

Posted: September 11th, 2013 9:29 PM

but what's the next thing thats going to be passed, that is negative for the community?

Pedantic Oak Park  

Posted: September 11th, 2013 9:28 PM

Judith, I'm not relieved at all, because I believe 5 pawn stores is way too many as it is. Graham has been force to back peddle due to strong opposition from the communities and the outing of her questionable practices... She did not change her tone from a position of caring for the community. It just makes one believe that she has no interest in serving her community, and is only interested in serving herself. Sure, we now have zoning to stop more pawn shops (too little too late) cont...

Pedantic Oak Park  

Posted: September 11th, 2013 9:22 PM

Bill, I never said the ultimate solution to property crime in the village is to clamp down on pawn shops. What I DID say is that pawn shops provide another opportunity for criminals to steal their stolen items, which is true. Maybe criminal near and far sell the stuff on North Ave, it makes no difference, as their crimes are still being rewarded. The other point I made was that a grown number of pawn shops adds to the decline of an area, as research has shown.

Judith Alexander from Oak Park, IL  

Posted: September 11th, 2013 7:40 PM

Pedantic may be relieved to know that no additional pawn shops can open on the Oak Park side of North Avenue. It is a perimeter district. Pawn shops are one of many disallowed businesses. Unfortunately, these zoning restrictions were put in place after three pawn shops were already operating and therefore grandfathered in. On the Chicago side, I doubt Ald. Graham would back a another pawn shop. She's trying now to make amends for her support of EZPawn.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: September 11th, 2013 3:10 PM

So, Pedantic, you're saying that the solution to much of the property crime here is to get rid of pawnshops in Oak Park? Because, what? The thieves won't travel elsewhere to pawn stolen items. I covered crime in OP and RF for ten years, and I can tell you stuff stolen in OP has been found pawned on numerous occasions quite a distance from OP. I understand people's concern over proliferating pawn shops, but getting rid of them in the village won't eliminate thefts and burglaries here.

Pedantic Oak Park  

Posted: September 11th, 2013 2:33 PM

With the addition of the new pawn show, we now have 5 pawn shops within a 1 mile stretch of North Ave. What I would advocate for is that an ordinance is drafted to put a limit on the number of pawn shops allowed to operate within the communities. This way the needs of poor people can still be met, policing can be more focused and the community isn't as negatively affected as it is with 5 pawn shops. Unfortunately Graham is more interested in personal interests than that of the communities.

Pedantic Oak Park  

Posted: September 11th, 2013 2:27 PM

OP Transplant, I don't believe that always going along with what the market determines is always in the best interest of the community. There are over 90 Liquor stores in Austin, which indicates the "needs"/"wants" of the market, but I'd argue that such stores are profiting off of the pain and helplessness of that community, thus further pushing it into a state of dysfunction. Studies suggest that grouping together increasing numbers of pawn shops negatively affects that immediate community

OP Transplant  

Posted: September 11th, 2013 12:46 PM

Pedantic - I don't disagree with you, but what are you advocating? Pawn shops aren't in the business of fencing stolen goods. They operate legally under tight regulation. And yes, sometimes criminals use them. But mostly low-income citizens who aren't criminals use them. If they stop filling a market need, they'll close by themselves. If they remain profitable, that indicates a need. Maybe you and I don't use them, but apparently some of our neighbors do.

Pedantic Oak Park  

Posted: September 11th, 2013 12:19 PM

OP Transplant, pawn shops are more than "eyesores", and it's not about them turning non-criminals into criminals, it's about that fact that they provide another opportunity for criminals to unload their stolen/robbed items. Criminals do us pawn shops, and not everything can be traced as easily as the computer that was recovered. Most people don't keep serial numbers on file.

OP Transplant  

Posted: September 11th, 2013 12:06 PM

Pawn shops may be an eyesore, but it's unrealistic to imagine that people who don't steal will start because there is a convenient pawn shop, or that people who do steal will stop because there isn't a convenient pawn shop. Most thieves don't take their stolen goods to local pawn shops, or it would all be recovered as easily as the computer in the article.

Pedantic Oak Park  

Posted: September 11th, 2013 11:56 AM

Bill, you proved my point. If you get rid of the pawn shops in Oak Park, you wouldn't need to have police investigating in them, they could do other things. More pawn shops means more police time, which means less police that could be providing other services.

see both sides  

Posted: September 11th, 2013 11:19 AM

Not that I care for pwan shops at all because I don't but stolen merchandise probably has a better chance of being recovered because of pawn shops. It would have been easy to locate a friend through a friend that wants to by a cheap computer. Then who would have found the computer? Pawn shops don't breed theft. You have adults still stealing and eating other peoples' lunches at work. They can't pawn that. Or the pens other people set down...etc etc. People will steal whatever, pawn shop or not.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: September 10th, 2013 11:20 PM

I appreciate your point, Pedantic, but the fact is, the proceeds of thefts and burglaries are very often disposed of at pawn shops- those near Oak Park and more distant. Pawn shops are a standard destination for criminals, and it doesn't matter how many patrol squads you have on the street, you have to routinely monitor pawn shops for illicit transactions if you hope to solve crimes.

Pedantic Oak Park  

Posted: September 10th, 2013 10:47 PM

Bill, I think the point was that the department's resources are being wasted needlessly by the inclusion of more pawn shops. I don't think it was a statement against the need for detectives.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: September 10th, 2013 9:59 PM

"I'd rather have them out patrolling, wouldn't you?" No, Judith. I'd rather have the patrol officers patrolling and the detectives investigating, which is the way the PD is structured. Crimes get solved at both ends, Ms. Alexander- by prevention and through investigation.

Oak Park dude  

Posted: September 10th, 2013 9:51 PM

Yes Judith, I too would rather OPPD be on the street than dealing with this crap. Graham does not have the best interest of anyone but herself in mind, as her support of the pawn shop clearly shows. How she, or anyone else, could say that pawn shops don't add to the decline of an area is either delusional (which I don't believe Graham to be) or scheming. I'm glad the community is calling her out.

Judith Alexander from Oak Park, IL  

Posted: September 10th, 2013 9:15 PM

The problem is that most stolen goods get sent far away from where they're pawned to prevent local police from identifying them as stolen. "In the front door, out the back door" as careful observers have long noticed. Also consider how much of our police force's time is taken up pawn shop dealings. I'd rather have them out patrolling, wouldn't you?

Oak park dude  

Posted: September 10th, 2013 9:06 PM

What did you say again Adlerman Graham? Pawn shops don't breed crime? LOL. Now imagine all the stolen strong armed goods that don't have recorded serial numbers.

Chris Carrier  

Posted: September 10th, 2013 5:13 PM

Obviously, he forgot to scratch the serial off of the BIOS.

Listen Like Thieves  

Posted: September 10th, 2013 2:43 PM

Stupid and lazy. He went to the closest pawn shop to the scene of the crime.

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