It's the season to give and receive, so unfortunately that means crooks are on high alert. We've learned about a tool Huntsville Police is using, that can help you get your stuff back if it's stolen.
Huntsville Police said the City invested on leads online about a year ago. The City requires pawn shops to enter serial numbers anytime items are being pawned, so officers can locate stolen property being sold for cash.
"I think it's smart because a lot of time people will take those devices to pawn shops and then the police can recover them and you can get your items back," said Ron Cooper who lives in Huntsville.
Huntsville Police use LeadsOnline.com for businesses and to track data entered. Individuals can create an account on ReportIt.com to register their items.
"Prior to having LeadsOnline criminals actually came to north Alabama to pawn some items because they knew leads on line was not here," said Lt. Michael Johnson with Huntsville Police.
Johnson said in the year the department has used the services, investigators have recovered thousands of dollars worth of stolen electronics.
"It's actually a preventive tool as well. When criminals know law enforcement has these tools and can catch them they are less likely to commit a crime," he explained.
Johnson said the websites have been around for years and law enforcement across the country uses it. Now, investigators are bringing stolen items back here that made it across the country.
"We have an investigator who has said he's found property as far as California," he added.
Huntsville Police said it encourages anyone who receives an electronic device this holiday season to register the serial number just in case your item is ever stolen.
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