Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Help Me Howard: Pawn Shop
You are robbed, your jewelry stolen and then found at a pawn shop. Can you get it back, and do you have to pay to do it? It's a question one woman had, and she turned to Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- With a name like Arvanitakis you know Billie is Greek. Billie is fun-loving with a flaw, and she is very trusting.
Billie Arvanitakis: "Driving with a suspended license, knowingly driving with a suspended license, still doesn't have a license."
I was reading the rap sheet for a fellow who rented a room in her house, and he repaid her by robbing her.
Billie Arvanitakis: "24-inch, 14 carat gold Gucci chain. 14 carat gold Nefertiti."
The thief took eight pieces from Billie, cash wise, worth about $3,000. From a sentimental standpoint, priceless.
Billie Arvanitakis: "My mother is gone, and this is all I had left from my mother, and my grandfather brought me that cross from Greece. I cannot replace that. It's a very beautiful ornate cross."
Fortunately, Broward detectives nabbed Billie's full-time renter/part-time burglar Myrtis Johnson and discovered the jewelry was pawned at this shop.
Billie Arvanitakis: "The detective had told me we had to wait until the trial or I would have gone right away and got my jewelry."
The detective did slap a hold on the jewelry, blocking the pawn shop for selling it for 90 days, but Johnson wasn't sentenced for a year, and when Billie called about her jewelry, she found out it was gone from the shop.
Billie Arvanitakis: "So I am out in the dust, and I am furious, furious."
The jewelry stolen from Billie is gone. How can she get it back, or can she get it back, Howard?
Howard Finkelstein: "When your property is stolen and pawned, you have a right to get it back for free, if you follow the proper procedures, and whose job is it to tell the victim the steps they need to take? No one. The law drops the ball on this."
When I spoke to the pawn shop, they told me they held the jewelry for a year, till BSO gave them permission to get rid of it. Then, they melted it. BSO told me, we turned the case over to the state attorney, that it was out of our hands.
The state attorney who handled the case told me he spoke to Billie 15 or 20 times about this. In addition, he made sure the court ordered the criminal to pay Billie $3,000 for the jewelry.
Billie says the money will be nice, but the sentimental value of the jewelry is irreplaceable, leaving her a little upset with the legal system.
Patrick Fraser: "What do you think of the legal system?
Billie Arvanitakis: "I think it stinks."
Patrick Fraser: "And Billie says no one ever told her how to pick up her jewelry or where to pick it up. Clearly, there were communication problems between her and law enforcement. Now, if your stolen property turns up at a pawn shop, send them a certified letter asking them to hold it. Then, ask the police or state attorney for the paperwork to go pick it up. The pawn shop then has to go after the crook to get the money they paid for the items, but you do not have to pay."
Someone robbed you of a priceless treasure? Don't let things melt away. Pawn it off on us. We won't charge you anything. Our advice is a real steal.
CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org (Please include your contact phone number when emailing)
REPORTER: Patrick Fraser at email@example.com