Mayor Michael Victorino answers weekly questions submitted to his office staff.
Question: If a police report is filed on a stolen item and it is then seen at a pawn shop, what should the victim do? How should he go about recovering the stolen item?
Answer: I’m sorry to hear about this situation and I hope the victim was able to recover their belongings. If you’re ever unsure about what to do, the best thing to do is talk to the police.
In this case, the victim identifying stolen property should contact the Maui Police Department’s non-emergency number at 244-6400 and ask to speak with an officer. When you’re contacted by the officer, provide him or her with the information on where the item is and most importantly, the report number under which the item was reported stolen.
Often times victims of these crimes will ask to meet the officer at the pawn shop. The officer will confirm that the item was indeed reported stolen in the Police report. The item will then be recovered by the Officer and submitted as evidence for the investigation along with any other information the pawn broker can provide to identify the offender.
The victim will be instructed to contact the Prosecutor’s office and, using the Police Report number, inform them of the victim’s desire to retrieve their property.
There are two claims of ownership on the property: the victim of the crime and the pawn broker. It is important that the victim be able to establish ownership of the item prior to the initiation of the criminal investigation.
The property cannot be released until: 1.) The case has been adjudicated in a court; or 2.) Prosecution in the case has been discontinued; and 3.) Investigation in the case has been discontinued. A disposition letter from the Prosecutor’s Office, the Corporation Counsel’s office or the courts directing the return of these items to either of the parties involved has to be provided to the Police Department before any items can be released.
I realize this is a lengthy process to retrieve your rightful belongings, but our police department needs to follow proper procedures in order to ensure your property is safe and returned to you lawfully. Although I hope most of you do not have to experience this issue, I want to Mahalo our police officers for helping to provide this information to the public.
If you need to report a stolen item, please call the Maui Police Department at 244-6400.
Want to Ask the Mayor? Submit your Maui County related questions to Mayor Michael Victorino by email at [email protected], by phone at 270-7855 or by mail at 200 S. High St., ninth floor, Wailuku 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column; to request a personal response to a concern, email [email protected]