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  1. #1
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    Default Pawning an Item that Turned Out to Have Been Stolen

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Mississippi

    About four months ago I pawned a camera that belonged to my friend. (Stupid - stupid- I know but he let me use it). I found out that he stole it from someone.
    The person knows that he stole the camera. Again, I thought it was his camera. (I was going to go pick it up and give it back to him but found out he stole it).
    I would like to go get the camera and give it back to the original owner-or should I give it back to him (who I got it from)?

    The pawn shop owner knows the story about my friend stealing the camera. Will I be in trouble if I pick it up? Just some advice needed here. I did not violate any laws.
    The original owner said they will not press charges against my friend. But am I involved somehow illegally?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Theft or Not

    Quote Quoting Charlie M
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    I did not violate any laws.
    ?
    yes, you did.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Theft or Not

    Please explain...

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Theft or Not

    If we assume that you didn't know you were fencing a stolen camera, we're still left with the question of why you lied to the pawn shop and claimed that your friend's camera was yours. I would be interested to learn how the pawn shop found out what actually happened.

    If the pawn shop owner now knows that the camera was stolen, I would expect him to perform his legal duty and report his receipt of stolen property to the police. If he's offered you the chance to give him back his money, recover the camera, and return it to its owner without police involvement, he's being incredibly charitable to you.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Pawning an Item that Turned Out to Have Been Stolen

    Quote Quoting Charlie M
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    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Mississippi

    About four months ago I pawned a camera that belonged to my friend. (Stupid - stupid- I know but he let me use it). Yada, Yada, Yada. Again, I thought it was his camera.
    I'm kinda fuzzy on something here. You state that you pawned your friend's camera. Did your friend ask you to pawn it for him? If so, didn't that kinda make you wonder why he couldn't do it? Your post seems to indicate, if I'm reading it right cause it's kinda jumbled, one of 2 scenarios here:

    1. That your friend gave you permission to use "his" camera. You then, while in possession of it, pawned it for some reason. You were then going to get the camera out of pawn and return it, but found out it was stolen. If so, pawning property that does not belong to you is likely illegal.
    2. Or are you saying you needed money and your friend said, "Here, take my camera and pawn it. Get it back to me when you have the money." Then you found out it is stolen and are worried about your liability?

    As KIA stated, pawnshops are required in some states to notify law enforcement of any stolen property they receive. If so, you and/or your friend can expect a visit from the police.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Theft or Not

    I cannot find a specific law applicable but I can assure you that Mississippi does have some law they can apply to a situation where a person expresses an unauthorized control over another's property. In many states it would be called criminal conversion. Mississippi does not use the term criminal conversion but I have no doubt they have some statute that they apply given the situation.

    the fact the camera is stolen might be your salvation. Since your friend was not the legal owner, he cannot claim you expressed such control over his property because it isn't his property. The crime could still be charged but it is unlikely due to the fact of the circumstances.

    Now the problem will be: does your friend tell the police you knew the camera was stolen and as such you are guilt of fencing stolen property? If he makes such a claim, how do you prove otherwise? You have taken no action to rectify the situation since your newfound knowledge of it being stolen. While that cannot convict you, it can surely make you look like bad.

    I suspect the police have already been alerted to the situation and they are waiting for you to come in and pick up the camera where you will be arrested and charged with a variety of crimes. If the pawn broker values his license, as soon as he learned it was stolen, he did what the law requires him to do and notified the police.


    So you can try to pick up the camera not knowing what the broker has done, you can simply ignore the situation hoping the police do not believe you were knowingly involved with fencing stolen property, or you call the police and let them know you did not know it was stolen when you pawned your friends property (I still think you will have a very difficult time convincing them of that) but as soon as you learned it was stolen, you took the appropriate action by reporting it.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Theft or Not

    It is difficult for me to imagine that a pawn shop would accept the pawn of an item offered with the explanation, "This isn't mine - it belongs to a friend - but I want to pawn it and for you to give me the money." They should tell you to have the owner pawn the item. So I'm still not seeing how this pawn would have occurred without the representation to the pawn shop, "This is my camera." I suspect that we're talking about the (presumably unknowing) receipt of stolen property - with the camera traded for something of lesser value or sold for a "too good to be true" price.

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